Census 2010 shows there are nearly 5,630 elephants today as compared to 4,035 in 2007
The preliminary results of the Karnataka Synchronised Elephant Census 2010 indicate that there are nearly 5,630 elephants in the State and their population is stable.
The synchronised census was conducted in May 2010 across the four southern States and was taken up under the auspices of Project Elephant, Government of India.
Ajay Misra, Field Director, Project Elephant, told The Hindu that the data analysis was compiled by R. Sukumar of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science and N. Baskaran, Senior Scientist, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, and the results showed that the elephant population in the State ranged between 5,195 and 6,065, with an estimated mean population of 5,630 elephants.
The summary report was presented to the Forest Department on Wednesday and it pointed out that in all, 2,843 elephants were counted over an area of 4,924 sq. km by sample block count method across 18 forest divisions of the State.
The estimated population for the 18 forest divisions based on analysis using pooled data showed that Bandipur Tiger Reserve had the highest range with a minimum population of 1,727 elephants and a maximum of 2,534 elephants and a mean of 2,130 elephants. This was followed by Nagarahole National Park, which had a maximum of 792 elephants and a minimum of 443 elephants with a mean population of 617 elephants.
The maximum estimated population figures for other forest divisions in the State using sample block count methods are as follows: Kollegal (720); Cauvery Wild Life Sanctuary (704); Biligirirangan Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (563); Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (497); followed by Ramanagara (351); Virajpet (260); Madikere (245); Bannerghatta (117); Mysore (110); Mangalore (69); Hunsur (50) among others.
The population size was estimated using dung count method also. Accordingly, the State had a maximum estimated population of 8,969 elephants, a minimum of 3,569 elephants with an estimated mean population of 6,132 elephants.
The elephant census has been going on since 1993 and the available figures show that there were an estimated 6,088 elephants in 1997; 5,838 in 2002; and 4,035 in 2007.
Mr. Misra pointed out that the variation in the elephant numbers compared to the previous year's figures could be attributed to the migration that takes place constantly across the southern States. “But a comprehensive view of the figures available for the State and read in conjunction with census results available for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, prove that the elephant population was stable,” said Mr. Misra.
The summary report dwells on the population structure and points out that the overall adult male-female ratio for all the divisions put together was 1:2:3. The all-India figures for the elephants obtained from the Forest Department indicate that the estimated population of the animals in 1993 was 11,353 and has shown a steady increase since then. The estimated population was 12,716 in 1997; 12,814 in 2002 and 14,005 in 2007.