Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Highlights of the MoEFCC Survey on Elephant
Mains level: Man-Animal Conflict
- The details of the first survey of captive elephants in the country were submitted in an affidavit by the MoEFCC to the Supreme Court.
- The affidavit comes in the wake of rising elephant deaths and human-elephant conflicts, particularly in Kerala and Assam.
- According to the affidavit, there are 2,454 elephants in captivity, of which 560 are in possession with forest departments and 1,687 with private individuals.
- However, 664 of the total captive elephants in the country are without ownership certificate while there are 85 in zoos, 26 in circuses and 96 in temples.
- The affidavit covers data for 28 states and Union Territories.
- It shows that Assam and Kerala account for more than half the nationwide total of 2,454.
- Assam has 37% of these captive elephants and Kerala has 21%.
- Concentration in two states means a wide gap with the count in other states — the third highest is Karnataka’s 184, roughly one-fifth of Assam’s 905 and a little over one-third of Kerala’s 518.
- Of these, one-third are in private custody without any ownership certificate mandated by law; zoos, circuses and temples account for 207 elephants in captivity.
Why such Survey?
- In Nov 18, the Court had pulled up the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) for not having data on the number of elephants held captive.
- The apex court had directed the MoEFCC to identify elephants in captivity and whether their owners have an ownership certificate.
- It was hearing a writ petition filed by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.
- The bench has now directed the Chief Wildlife Wardens of states to ascertain the age of all the captive elephants.