Elephant count in May

After five years, an all-India count of wild elephants is happening this year. While the count has already begun in eastern India, it will happen in the four southern states in May 2017. The elephant species found in India is the Asian Elephant.

During the last count, held in 2012, around 29,000-30,000 elephants were counted in India. This year, the count was held in the north-eastern states and Bengal at the end of March. The four southern states-Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh-will do the count in May. The count is being done at the same time in the north-east and southern India clusters (states that are next to each other) so that migrating elephants are not counted twice.

How are elephants counted?

Two methods are used for counting elephants. One is the direct counting method where elephants seen in the forest are counted in a list. In the second method, dung samples are studied to make the count. Counts from both methods are then cross-checked to arrive at the right number of elephants.

In addition to counting elephants, the study will also look at ways in which humans are coming into conflict with these wild animals. As humans take over land for farming and making villages, they are cutting into the habitat of these giant creatures. This creates conflicts (fights) between humans and elephants. As a result, both elephants and humans have lost their lives while farms and homes have been destroyed.