Elephant census from March 27 (Kolkata, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

A three-day elephant census in north Bengal and adjoining
north-eastern States will start from March 27.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden of
West Bengal Pradeep Vyas said that along with north Bengal, the census
will be held in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

“The most important feature of this year’s census is the involvement
of neighbouring States. Elephants are migratory animals, in earlier
census we found the pachyderms cross over to the adjoining States,
this leads to the possibility of overestimation or underestimation.
The count will be conducted simultaneously with north-eastern States,”
Mr. Vyas told reporters on Wednesday.

Direct count

Senior forest officials said the census will involve direct and
indirect count. Direct count involves block counting by sighting of
elephants in forest and point counting from watchtowers in the forest.
Indirect counting involves counting using dung decay method along the
transit route of elephants.

The elephant census in north Bengal will cover an area of around 1,828
sq km from Mechi river near Indo-Nepal border to Sankosh river,
bordering Assam. As per last census carried out in 2014, there are 590
elephants in north Bengal.

The counting of elephants in south Bengal will be held along with
other bordering States of Odisha and Jharkhand in May.

Migration pattern

Forest officials said that elephants in south Bengal migrate to Odisha
and Jharkhand while those in north Bengal migrate to Assam. There are
around 180 elephants in south Bengal.

Experts say that human-elephant conflict in the State has assumed
alarming proportions. Professor Raman Sukumar of the Centre for
Ecological Science at the IISc in Bengaluru said that an elephant in
West Bengal kills ten times more human being in the State than
anywhere else in the country.

Elephants killed 108 people in West Bengal in 2015-16.