Archive for Protected Species
www.independent.co.uk 2 September 2010
The Indian government has declare the elephant the country’s ‘national heritage animal’. The decision was made in response to the dwindling elephant population in India caused in part by poaching and a gradual reduction in the land suitable for grazing. The former cause has led to a skewed ration of male to female elephants as only the males have tusks, thus making them attractive to poachers. The latter cause has resulted in a tense relationship between farming communities and the elephant population as people encroach further and further into the forests that support the large mammals. This conflict causes around 400 deaths a year by trampling. In the 1960s and 70s, the Indian government through its weight behind Tiger conservation. The big cat’s population now stands at 1400 (officially but some believe it to be half this) but there is an effective infrastructure in place to protect them. Elephants on the other hand, with a population of 26,000 have been neglected until now.
Suggested solutions to the problem of the dwindling elephant population include better education for the local human populations and better training and equipment for nature reserve guards. Also, more effective protection for nature corridors from farming and mining has been put forward but has not been put into effect as yet.