10 forest divisions of Karnataka brace for elephant population estimation

Elephant ranges not abutting southern State boundaries not part of the exercise

Published - May 20, 2024 09:06 pm IST - MYSURU

Elephant population estimation exercise will take place in forest divisions bordering the southern States from May 23 in Karnataka.

Elephant population estimation exercise will take place in forest divisions bordering the southern States from May 23 in Karnataka. | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

Ten forest divisions in Karnataka bordering neighbouring southern States are all set for the elephant population estimation exercise to be held for three days from May 23.

This is part of the synchronized population estimation being conducted in association with Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

The 10 forest divisions of Karnataka located on the interstate boundary with Kerela, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where the exercise will take place include Kolar, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, BRT Tiger Reserve, Bannerghatta National Park, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Madikeri Territorial Division, Madikeri Wildlife Division and Virajpet division and comprises 65 forest ranges, 563 beats involving 1689 manpower over 3 days.

Kumar Pushkar, Additional PCCF (Wildlife) said that this exercise is restricted to 10 divisions bordering the neighbouring southern States in view of the conflict situation and as part of the Interstate Coordination Committee charter drafted at Bandipur in March 2024.

Hence 13 forest divisions including Hassan, Chikkamagalur, Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada, etc., which have elephant populations, will not be part of the exercise. However, these forest divisions will be included in the exercise conducted once in five years which is next scheduled for 2028 and the previous exercise was in 2023 which indicated that Karnataka had 6395 elephants.

But as only 10 forest divisions bordering the neighbouring southern States have been included in the exercise, the elephant population figures that will emerge will also be significantly less than the 2023 figures which were for the entire State. But these 10 divisions account for almost 80 per cent of the Karnataka elephant population, said Mr. Pushkar.

In the 2023 exercise covering the entire State Bandipur had 1116 elephants and it was the highest for Karnataka followed by 831 elephants in Nagarahole. BRT Tiger Reserve with 619 elephants and M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary with 706 elephants were other major reserves with sizeable elephant populations.

Mr. Pushkar said synchronised population estimation exercise of the wildlife in the interstate region will help provide valuable insights into population dynamics and help in the management of the conflict in a holistic manner. This is crucial for designing the conflict management strategies, he added.

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