Sixth meeting to be held from May 31: Task Force member

The Task Force on ‘Project Elephant,' constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, would submit its report soon giving recommendations for effective conservation and management of wild/captive elephants in the country.

A final meeting of the Task Force members will be held in New Delhi on May 31 and June 1 after which a detailed report will be prepared based on the inputs received from various stakeholders, officials, researchers and non-governmental organisations.

S. Vincent, Task Force Member, Project Elephant, told The Hindu here on Friday that the Ministry had extended the term of the Task Force by another three months to August.

It was supposed to have submitted the report originally by the end of this month.

Conservation framework

“During our meetings, we had interactions with tribal representatives also as they would be in a position to give valuable suggestions for conservation of elephants due to their experience,” he said.

The Task Force had been mandated to develop a framework on conservation/management of elephant population, Dr. Vincent said.

“The interim report will be submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests soon. Various approaches to put in place a foolproof system with regard to elephants' safety will be incorporated in our report,” he said.

According to him, experts involved in elephant conservation have made their submission before the Task Force and those who are interested in offering suggestions could contact the Task Force members.

Domestication of elephants, care centres for elephants in captivity and elephant corridors are among the issues being studied in detail by the ‘Project Elephant' Task Force.

Elephant census

Dr. Vincent informed that the Task Force, which was set up by the Government of India in February this year, would also come out with suggestions on scientific approach to carry out elephant population census in the country. Besides, the sex-ratio among elephants was another issue being deliberated now.

The Project Elephant covers 15 States including Tamil Nadu and Kerala and will come out with an effective recommendation paper on ways of strengthening elephant conservation.

Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, who is an expert in forestry and wildlife history, is heading the Task Force.

“Our committee is supposed to devise an institutional framework for Project Elephant and develop framework for elephant ranges. Training and certification of mahouts, veterinary care and monitoring of captive elephants are among the terms of reference,” Dr. Vincent explained.

Individuals and organisations wanting to offer suggestions for Project Elephant can reach the member through e-mail: svincent_loyola@ yahoo.co.in.