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Elephant Corridors and Elephant Reserves

Elephant Corridors

  • Elephant corridor is a linear path aiding elephant movement between habitats.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), coordinating with the State Forest Departments, has ground-validated 150 elephant corridors across 15 elephant range states.

Right to Passage of the Animals

  • The Supreme Court of India has affirmed the right of passage of the animals by upholding the Madras High Court judgement.
  • Madras HC, while upholding the validity of the TN government’s notification declaring an ‘Elephant Corridor’ in the Sigur Plateau of Nilgiris District, said that the government can notify elephant corridors under ‘Project Elephant’ and Article 51 A(g) of the Constitution.
  • Article 51 A(g): To protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.

Benefits of Elephant Corridors

  • Genetic diversity: It helps elephants to intermingle and breed with elephants outside their gene pool.
  • Reduces human-animal conflict

Elephant Reserves

Elephant Reserves
Elephant Reserves

Benefits of Elephant Reserves

  • Maintaining ecosystem health
  • Habitat protection
  • Combating poaching
  • Reduces human-animal conflict

Why Elephant Reserves and Corridors Do Little Good for Conservation?

  • Elephant reserves and elephant corridors are essentially administrative classifications.
  • They don’t promise greater protection of elephant habitats because they are not recognised by law.
  • According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WPA 1972), a ‘protected area’ can be one of a ‘national park, a ‘wildlife sanctuary’, a ‘conservation reserve’ or a ‘community reserve’.
  • The prohibited activities in protected areas, including mining, oil and gas drilling, dams, etc., are permissible in an elephant reserve.
  • As a result, governments can divert elephant reserves and corridors for various projects.

Asian Elephant

  • Elephants are the largest terrestrial mammals. They are keystone species.
  • They are matriarchal, meaning they live in female-led groups.
  • The elephant’s gestation period is 18 to 22 months, and the calf is nursed for 2 to 4 years.
  • The lifespan of elephants is 60-70 years in the wild.
  • There are three species of elephants: African Forest Elephant (CR), African Savanna Elephant (EN), and Asian Elephant (EN).
  • There are three subspecies of Asian elephant: Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan.
  • Conservation status of Asian elephants: IUCN: Endangered | CITES: Appendix I | WPA: Schedule I
  • India is home to 60% of the Asian elephant population.
  • India states with highest elephant population: 1st Karnataka (25%) > 2nd Assam > 3rd Kerala > 4th Tamil Nadu > 5th Odisha > 6th Uttarakhand.
  • Indian subspecies has the widest range among Asian elephants.
  • India declared the elephant as a national heritage animal by acknowledging its ecological sensitivity.
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