World Elephant Day
Why in news?
World Elephant Day was celebrated on 12th August bringing into focus the challenging task of ensuring the jumbos’ conservation amidst habitat destruction and disturbance and the resultant increase in human-elephant conflict.
- World Elephant Day, was first observed on August 12, 2012, with the initiative of Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims and the society of elephant conservation in Thailand ‘Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand’
- The day aims to bring together individuals to raise voices against issues threatening the survival of elephants and work together towards the conservation of the species.
The need to celebrate
- It has been estimated, according to the report, that over 100 African elephants are killed every day by poachers for ivory, bones and flesh. The total population of African elephants presently is nearly 4,00,000.
- The price of ivory, banned internationally in 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), has risen three times. The other specie, Asian elephants, biologically different from Africans and cannot be crossbred, are spread across 13 countries of Asia, and just 40,000 are left as they too become the victim of the ivory trade as well as captured for entertainment purposes, circus shows and religious activities.
- Studies have shown that the life span of an elephant reduces under captivity as it suffers from depression and trauma. Moreover, the shrinking of wild space due to the development of infrastructures like highways and railways is threatening their survival as elephants are losing habitats and many times encroach on human settlements leading to man-animal conflicts.
Elephants in Karnataka
- The South Karnataka region which has the highest concentration of elephants in the State that harboured nearly 6,049 free ranging elephants in the wild as per the 2017 census results.
- In Karnataka, elephants are mainly found in the southern parts and 36 of them have died in Chamarajanagar circle, while there were 12 deaths in Mysuru, 10 in Kodagu, 7 in Bengaluru, 4 in Hassan, and 1 in Chikkamagaluru circle, according to authorities.
- As per the statistics maintained by the Karnataka Forest Department, as many as 79 elephants have died in Karnataka during 2021, of which 17 were a result of unnatural causes including electrocution and poaching
Measures taken by the government
- To conserve elephants, whose population as per the last count in 2017 was 29,964, India launched ‘Project Elephant’ in 1992. Under the project, the government provides technical and financial help to states to save elephants.
Strong legislature and strict enforcement are needed to curb the ivory trade, educate the masses about the importance of elephants in wildlife and conserve and expand the forest areas, as well as global efforts are the need of the hour if we want the future generation to see elephants.