New Delhi, August 24
The Centre has identified over 60 new corridors used by elephants for movement between two habitats, taking the total number of identified passages across the country to 150, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment.
The last listing of corridors by the central government was done in 2010. As many as 88 elephant corridors were listed then.
The corridor is a strip of land that facilitates the movement of elephants between two or more viable habitat patches.
The report–Elephant Corridor Report 2023– was released on August 12 by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav. The report mentions that 74 out of the 88 elephant corridors that were listed in 2010 are found to be presently active concerning elephant use.
The identification of corridors helps to provide safe passage to the elephants for movement to minimise human-animal conflict and accidents. As many as 301 elephants and 1,401 humans lost their lives due to human-elephant conflict in 2019-21.
West Bengal has the highest number (26) of identified elephant corridors in India, accounting for over 17 percent of all the passages, the report accessed by ANI shows.
” The ministry has started identifying the corridors in 2021. After two years, we have prepared a report and have identified 150 corridors. It does not mean that there are only 150 corridors. The number could be higher but we have been able to identify 150,” a senior ministry official told ANI.
“The report is an outcome of the collective efforts of Project Elephant of the MoEFCC and the State Forest Departments with technical support from the Wildlife Institute of India and involved the ground validation of 150 elephant corridors,” he added.
About 84 percent (126) of the identified elephant corridors occur within the state boundaries. About 13 percent (19) are interstate elephant corridors that extend into two or more states. There were six transnational corridors between India and Nepal.
The centre along with the state government conducted the ground-validation surveys to ascertain the number of corridors.
Asian elephants are among the endangered species in the world. Currently, elephants occur in highly fragmented populations across 13 range countries in Asia.
Among these countries, India holds the largest (over 60 per cent) and one of the most stable elephant populations within it
“Being a highly mobile species with relatively large home ranges spanning 100 to 3000 sq km as recorded in India, the integrity of elephant habitats rests on maintaining contiguity between habitat patches,” the official added.
Explaining the importance of identifying the corridor, the official voiced it is certain that timely identification and continuous monitoring of elephant corridors is important for protection, management and conservation of corridors of elephant corridors.
“As corridors are directly beneficial in buffering wildlife populations from the perils of habitat fragmentation, they have become a cornerstone for wildlife conservation across the globe. Identifying corridors is important for taking suitable mitigation measures in case of developmental activities to derive a win-win situation and avoiding human-elephant conflicts which results in large number of casualties of both humans and elephants,” he added.