Indian minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar
on Monday said efforts are on full-swing to provide food and water to animals
in forests itself to deal with the growing human-animal conflict cases and that
it was important to strengthen the co-existence of humans and elephants.
The Union Environment Minister was speaking on
the eve of World Elephant Day at an event in New Delhi.
Javadekar said India was committed to the cause
of saving Elephants and other animals and is working towards robust, practical
and cost effective solutions to end the human animal conflict, as he stressed
on the need of capacity building and training of forest staff.
“To manage conflicts and avoid
loss of valuable lives of both the humans and elephants, it is important to
strengthen the human-elephant coexistence”, the minister said as he released a
booklet on “Best practices of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) Management in
India” during the event.
The booklet is a pictorial guide of a variety of management
inventions successfully adopted by the elephant range states and serves as a
reference manual for adoption of the best possible site specific mitigation
measures that can be adopted to reduce human – elephant conflicts.
Addressing the event, Minister of State for Environment Babul
Supriyo expressed satisfaction over the growing number of elephants in the
country and said there was a need to save elephants and deal with the
elephant-human conflict firmly. “Killing of innocent animals will not be
tolerated by the government and the Central government is adopting the best
practices to deal with human animal conflict,” he said.
During the event, Javadekar
and Supriyo along with the officials of the Environment ministry also launched
beta version of a portal on human-elephants Conflict. The National Portal
on human elephant conflict called “Surakhsya”
will collect real time information and also for manage conflicts on a real time
basis and thereby help to set the data collection protocols, data
transmission pipelines and data visualization tools to enable policy-makers to
leverage HEC data for policy formulation and for preparation of Action Plans
for mitigation of conflicts. At present the beta version of the portal is
being launched for data testing before the pan India roll out for adoption by
the states, which is likely to be done before year end.
World Elephant Day, celebrated on August 12, is an
international annual event, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the
world’s elephants. The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness
on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the
better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.
Asian elephants are listed as
“Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. This has been
done most of the range states except India, have lost their viable elephant
populations due to loss of habitats and poaching etc. The current
population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000 -60000 Asian
elephants in the world. More than 60 per cent of the population is in India.
Below is a list of 7 other endangered species in India:
Lion: One of the mightiest species in the world, they are now
restricted to Gir National park in Gujarat. Listed as endangered by the IUCN
Red List in 2010 due to a constant decrease in their numbers, India only has
750 Asiatic lions left.
tiger: Due to the rigorous poaching instances in India, the species
became endangered in the last 4 years. Corbett National Park has a large number
of “Big Cats” currently, though the overall number of these tigers in India are
down to around 2000.
Leopard: Due to constant human interference in their natural environment,
the mountainous regions of Asia, the number of snow leopards have dropped down
to almost 500. These cats can now be spotted only in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh,
Uttarakhand and the western and eastern parts of the Himalayas.
Tahr: They are an endangered mountain goat species, which is now found
in some areas of Kerala. Considered as the state animal of Tamil Nadu, there
are around 2500 Nilgiri Tahrs left in the world now and their numbers remain
decreasing due to harmful human activities.
Red Stag: Also known as ‘Hangul’, the species, found in dense riverine
forests of the high valleys in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh has been critically
endangered for decades. Their numbers had fallen as low as 150 in 1970 but
since then, there have been many conservation drives conducted to protect this
critically endangered species in India.
Also known as the Indian antelope, these are found in several
regions of India, Nepal and Pakistan. The species has also been declared
extinct in Bangladesh and is now endangered in India due to heavy poaching and
tampering of its natural environment. The blackbuck can now only be seen in
small herds in the country, but as a conservative measure, it has been
introduced in Argentina and the United States to increase their numbers.
rhinoceros: They are also called Indian rhinoceros and listed as a vulnerable
species by the IUCN. The animal is mostly found in the foothills of Himalayas,
in India and in Nepal. Usually poached for their horns, which allegedly have
medicinal properties, their numbers have decreased over time, with now more
than 2000 such rhinos remaining in the wild. Now they are being conserved in
several wildlife sanctuaries and parks in the nation.
By: Murtuza Merchant