Elephant Census in Bengal and Northeast India

2019 ias preliminary exam test series

Elephant Census has started in northeast India and West Bengal from March 27. Official have  deployed direct and indirect counting methods.

This is the first time that four zones (north, south, east and north-eastern zone) have been demarcated to count elephants. In the all-India synchronised elephant census, the dates for northeast zone are March 27 to March 29.

Apart from direct sighting, forest officials and experts will deploy dung-decay assessment as well for accuracy.

Dung-decay method relies on estimating the pachyderm population size by counting dung piles and understanding how often elephants defecate and how fast dung piles decay.

The simultaneous approach will eliminate duplication in counting.Earlier, each state used to conduct their own census. So, elephant populations often used to get counted twice or there was under-estimation.

The synchronised estimation will help in shedding light on demography and migration patterns.

In northeast zone, north Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura are included. In the second week of April, first phase of census in South Bengal will begin. South Bengal is part of the east zone comprising Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Although West Bengal has only two per cent of India’s elephant population, they are responsible for over 20 per cent of human deaths in the country.

According to data for 2012 with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, wild elephants in Bengal numbered 647.

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