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Forest ministry working to identify elephant corridors

Corridors get fragmented as the pachyderms set off on new routes. Some corridors have vanished as the wandering herds no longer pass through them though their inclusion could increase the number, ministry sources stated.

Tirthankar Mitra | Kolkata |

Secure in the knowledge that their huge form and being in the herd, the big and smaller jumbos lumber along fearlessly, oblivious of the fact of the danger posed to them by humans and especially the vehicles driven by them.

Now to make the lives of the pachyderms safer, Union ministry of environment and forests is working on a project to identify and secure elephant corridors all over the country. The elephant death figures released last year, having been compiled from 2009 till 2019, are more than 1000 while the human deaths as a result of human-elephant encounters are over 4000, according to ministry sources.

The maximum human deaths were from West Bengal. The maximum number of elephant deaths were caused by electrocution. The rest are accounted for by train accidents, poaching and poisoning, sources stated. Four regions where the jumbos abound will witness the corridor identification in North West, North East, EastCentral and South, sources stated. Awareness campaigns are underway along with the identification of human habitation in the corridors.

Facts remain and are vouched for by the experts that corridors change over the years. Way back in 2005, a joint study by Wildlife Trust of India and the ministry identified 88 such corridors which rose to 101 on a study conducted in 2015, it was learnt.

Corridors get fragmented as the pachyderms set off on new routes. Some corridors have vanished as the wandering herds no longer pass through them though their inclusion could increase the number, ministry sources stated. The humans are confronted with the fact that the progress of civilisation is a contributor to the vanishing of some of the corridors.

For the herd’s instinct to keep away from humans comes to the fore at the sight of a newly built road or a freshly laid railway track or a plantation in what had once been the heart of elephant country.

Land use and land cover of elephant reserves are being mapped, ministry sources said. Sources stated the ambitious plan to secure the elephant corridors is also driven by the finding that the corridors of state governments and Union government do not match.

A comprehensive list is being aimed at for which the parameters have even laid to avoid confusion, it was learnt.