Project Elephant is a Central Government sponsored scheme launched in February 1992. Through the Project Elephant scheme, The government helps in the protection and management of elephants to the states having wild elephants in a free-ranging population. The project ensures the protection of elephant corridors and elephant habitat for the survival of the elephant population in the wild.
This elephant conservation strategy is mainly implemented in 16 of 28 states or union territories in the country which includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Orissa,Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
The government of India in the year 2010 declared Elephant as the national heritage animal of the country on the recommendations of the standing committee of the national board for wildlife. This was done to make sure that sufficient protection to elephants was provided before their numbers fall to panic levels like in the case of tigers.
A proposed National elephant conservation authority (NECA) on the lines with NTCA has been proposed to be constituted by amending the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Objectives of Project Elephant
- To protect elephants, their habitat and corridors
- To ensure the protection of elephants from hunters and poachers, and prevent illegal trade of ivory. It also includes the strategy to prevent unnatural causes of death of elephants in India.
- To mitigate and prevent the increasing conflict between humans and elephants in elephant habitats. It also aims to reduce and remove the pressure of human and domestic livestock grazing and other activities in important elephant habitat.
- To ensure ecological restoration of the natural elephant habitats and their migratory routes.
- To promote scientific research on issues related to conservation of elephants and promotion of public awareness and education on these issues.
- To ensure the proper health care and breeding of domesticated elephants. To facilitate veterinary care and Eco-development for the elephants.
- Provide elephant Rehabilitation/Rescue Centers.