Every year 12 August is observed as World Elephant Day . This day seeks to draw the attention of the world towards the conservation and protection of world’s largest land mammals i.e elephants.
Wild elephants are found in Africa and Asia . According to the World Wide Fund for Nature,the greatest threat to African elephants is poaching for the illegal ivory trade. The Asian elephant populations are most at risk from habitat loss(due to deforestation) and human-elephant conflict. India is home to about 55% of Asian elephants.
Background to this Day
World Elephant Day was first observed in the year 2012 by two Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark along with the Thailand-based Elephant Reintroduction Foundation.
Patricia Sims runs an organisation dedicated to promoting the conservation effort for elephants called the World Elephant Society.
Theme of the World Elephant Day 2023
Every year the theme of the World Elephant day is announced by the World Elephant Society.
The theme of the World Elephant Day 2023: Ending the illegal Wildlife Trade
Elephant and India
The government of India in the year 2010 declared Elephant as the national heritage on the recommendation of the Elephant Task Force 2010 set up by the government of India. The Elephant Task Force was headed by Mahesh Rangarajan.
The Elephant Task Force also popularly called as Gajah Report called for the setting up of National Elephant Conservation Authority . It is yet to be accepted by the government of India.
Conservation effort of the Government
To protect the elephant ,the government has included the Elephant in Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Any animal which is included in Schedule 1 enjoys absolute protection.
Elephant has also been included in the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).CITES is an international agreement which seeks to regulate trade in animals and wildlife and protect them from overexploitation. India is a member of CITES.
It has been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN.)
Elephant Reserves in India
India has the highest number of Asian elephants . According to the 2017 census there were 27,312 elephants in India .
To protect the elephants, the government of India has notified 33 elephant reserves spread over 14 states.
33rd Elephant Reserve : Terai Elephant reserves in Uttar Pradesh was notified as the 33rd elephant reserve in 2022.
First Elephant Reserve : Singhbhum Elephant reserve of Jharkhand was notified as the first Elephant reserve of India on 26 September 2001.
States having maximum Elephant Reserves : Odisha and Tamil Nadu 5 each.
States Having Elephant Reserves
Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya , West Bengal, Odisha, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh , Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh , Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh,
Interesting facts about Elephants
Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth. The African Savanna (Bush) elephant is the world's largest land animal.
Worldwide Elephants are divided into three species -African Savanna (Bush), African Forest and Asian .
On average, an elephant can feed up to 18 hours and consume hundreds of pounds of plant matter in a single day. As a result, as they lose habitat, they often come into conflict with people in competition for resources.
The elephant herd is always led by a female elephant .
A single calf is born to a female once every four to five years and after a gestation period of 22 months—the longest of any mammal.