Elephant Corridor: Important Topics for UPSC Exams​

Elephant Corridor: Important Topics for UPSC Exams​


  • Elephant corridor is a thin strip of land that allows elephants to move freely from one habitat patch to another.
  • 88 elephant corridors have been identified by the wildlife trust of India under National elephant Corridor project.

Why is Elephant corridor necessary?

  • To address the development vs. environment issue which causes habitat loss to animals.
  • To reduce man-animal conflict: Expanding economic aspirations have given way to the conversion of many wetlands into urban centres, roads and railway projects, infrastructure for tourism. It has caused reduction of space available for animals to roam freely. It arises from man-animal conflict if space for roaming is not provided for them.

  • These corridors/projects are win-win for both the people and the animal because farming produce in those get destroyed whenever a herd of animals passes from those areas.
  • It can address the poaching issue because now the corridors can be technologically monitored.
  • WLT(world land trust) and other foreign elephant conservation organisations are funding wildlife trust of India in some corridor formation.

Status of Corridors

  • As per some estimates, India has 25,000-28,000 elephants, which is around 50 percent of the world's Asian elephant population.
  • 26 Elephant Reserves spread over about 110,000 sq. km. forests in the northeast, central, north-west and south India.
  • Of the 88 elephant corridors identified, 12 are in north-western India, 20 in central India, 14 in northern West Bengal, 22 in north-eastern India and 20 in southern India.
  • Increasing human population and their encroachment of elephant habitat have fragmented and degraded the available land. Because of its Dependence on the forest for fuel, timber, livestock grazing. As per TERI reports, man-animal can cause 10-15% loss of agricultural produce in Asia and Africa.

  • The Conversion of natural forest into monoculture plantation of tea, eucalyptus, and exotic species proliferation such as Lantana and Parthenium have further affected the habitat severely

Latest Man-elephant Conflict Examples

  • Elephant corridor identified by WWF-India in Wayana for restoration stuck due to non-cooperation among various government agencies.
  • Due to quarrying which has come up on hills adjacent to the 566-hectare Basavanatara forest, there is very loud noise pollution which causes elephants to stray from their groups
  • Parsa East and Kanta Basan’ open cast mine, which consists of a coal washery, involves 1,871 hectares of forest and an elephant corridor.
  • Lands owned by the Isha foundation based at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains are located in the elephant corridor-Case is under litigation in high court and NGT(National Green Tribunal).
  • Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in Assam created a golf course in 2011 and fenced it with a barbed wire and wall resulting in deaths of 12 elephants since then. It is present in elephant corridor region and also it is a No-development zone.
  • Dhanagur elephant corridor, where a farmer was killed and another seriously injured in separate elephant attacks. As per TERI report, more than 400 people have been killed in such incidents across the country during 1990-2004.

Some Initiative on domestic front

  • To swiftly address the man-animal conflict issue, West Bengal government has come up with Rapid Response Force (RRP) plan which is response team that would be equipped with forest official, personnel with animal rescue training and equipment, veterinary surgeons and a smart vehicle with rotating searchlights fitted atop it.
  • Another initiative by WB government is Airavat (mythical war elephant and the pet of Lord Indra), dedicated to reducing man-elephant conflict.
  • Radio collar and technological devices for real-time monitoring in Assam and west Bengal elephant corridors.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, around 400 conflict zones identified and 5 people were deployed in each to address the man-conflict issue.

Initiatives with neighbouring countries

  • India-Bangladesh: In final stages of an agreement to allow free passage of elephants. 7 cross-border routes for the animals have been identified in the Tripura, Assam and Mizoram.

Way Forward

  • All the stakeholders: Community, conservationist, environmentalist, nearby village people must be included in policy making process.
  • Sensitization and awareness among people at large is necessary to stop poaching and illegal trades
  • Latest technologies such as Drones and satellites could be used for better monitoring.
  • Development vs Environment debate must be settled keeping in mind sustainable development model at its core.

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