STUDY ON ELEPHANT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     2nd March 2024        
output themes

Context:  Elephants in the eastern Himalayan floodplains bury their calves in a ‘legs upright’ position, a new study has found.

Study of Journal of Threatened Taxa

  • Novel Elephant Behaviours in Shared Spaces: Rampant environmental changes and forest destruction force Asian and African elephants into human territories to meet their dietary and ecological needs.
  • Unearthing Elephant Calf Burials: Elephant calf burial, previously mentioned in African literature, has been documented in the northern Bengal landscape by Parveen Kaswan and Akashdeep Roy.
  • Habitat Challenges and Conservation Concerns: With only 5% of their historic home range remaining globally, elephants face habitat fragmentation and land-use challenges.

oIndia, hosting over 60% of the Asian elephant population, confronts conservation issues due to substantial dietary requirements and habitat loss outside protected areas.

  • Northern Bengal: Northern Bengal districts, including Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, and Alipurduar, accommodate over 500 elephants, highlighting the significance of the region for elephant conservation.

Asian Elephant: Key Facts

  • Current Global population: 50,000 – 60,000, of which more than 60% are in India.
  • Indian States with Highest Population: Karnataka (6000+), followed by Assam (5,700+) and Kerala (3,000+) 
  • Threats: Poaching, Habitat loss, Human-Elephant conflict, and mistreatment in captivity.
  • Gestation: they have the longest pregnancy of any living mammal (22 Months). 
  • Conservation status: IUCN: Endangered, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I, CITES: Appendix I, CMS: Appendix I.

oElephant declared as the national heritage animal by GoI in 2010.

  • World Elephant Day: 12 August

African Elephant

  • About: They are slightly larger than Asian Elephants and can be identified by their larger ears. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears)
  • African Savanna (or bush) elephant: IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • African Forest Elephants: IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered