World Elephant Day
- 13 Aug 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
The World Elephant Day is celebrated on 12th August every year to spread awareness for the conservation and protection of the largest mammal on land.
- The day was launched in 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants.
- Asian Elephants: There are three subspecies of Asian elephant which are the Indian, Sumatran and Sri Lankan.
- Global Population: Estimated 20,000 to 40,000.
- The Indian subspecies has the widest range and accounts for the majority of the remaining elephants on the continent.
- There are around 28,000 elephants in India with around 25% of them in Karnataka.
- IUCN Red List Status: Endangered.
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
- African Elephants: There are two subspecies of African elephants, the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant.
- Global Population: Around 4,00,000.
- IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable.
- Earlier in July 2020, Botswana (Africa) witnessed the death of hundreds of elephants.
- Escalation of poaching.
- Habitat loss.
- Human-elephant conflict.
- Mistreatment in captivity.
- Abuse due to elephant tourism.
- Steps Taken for Conservation:
- Plans and programmes to arrest their poachers and killers.
- Declaration and establishment of various elephant reserves across the states. For example, Mysuru and Dandeli elephant reserves in Karnataka.
- Clean areas from lantana and eupatorium (invasive species) as they prevent the growth of grass for elephants to feed on.
- Barricades to prevent man-elephant conflicts.
- Measures for establishment of a cell to study forest fire prevention.
- Gaj Yatra which is a nationwide awareness campaign to celebrate elephants and highlight the necessity of securing elephant corridors.
- The Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme, launched in 2003, is an international collaboration that tracks trends in information related to the illegal killing of elephants from across Africa and Asia, to monitor effectiveness of field conservation efforts.
- Project Elephant: It is a centrally sponsored scheme and was launched in February 1992 for the protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change provides the financial and technical support to major elephant range states in the country through the project.
- Even mahouts (people who work with, ride and tend an elephant) and their families play an important part in the welfare of elephants.