Wildlife & Biodiversity

Centre identifies 62 new elephant corridors; total now 150

East central region has the most corridors at 52; among states, West Bengal tops list at 26 corridors

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Tuesday 19 September 2023
Elephant corridors can be described as a strip of land that enables elephant movement between two or more friendly habitats. Photo: iStock__

A new elephant corridor report released by the central government showed a 40 per cent increase in elephant corridors across 15 elephant range states in India.

The number of elephant corridors have increased to 150 against 88 registered by the Government of India in 2010. The elephant population in the country is estimated to be over 30,000.

Elephant corridors can be described as a strip of land that enables elephant movement between two or more friendly habitats. The corridors were reported by respective state governments and ground validation methods were used to verify them, the report stated.

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West Bengal has the most elephant corridors — 26 — amounting to 17 per cent of the total corridors, the report said. East central region contributed to 35 per cent, that is 52 corridors, while North East region was second largest with 32 per cent number meaning 48 corridors in total.

Southern India registered 32, that is 21 per cent of the elephant corridors, while northern India was lowest with 18 corridors or 12 per cent.

Majority of the corridors were noted to be within state boundaries and the intensity of the use of corridors has increased by 40 per cent. However, it showed that 19 per cent of the corridors, that is 29, showed a decrease in use while 10 others were seen impaired and demanding restoration for facilitating elephant movement.

The decrease in corridor use is attributed to the habitat fragmentation, shrinkage and destruction.

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The increase in the elephant corridors also reflected that elephants have expanded their ranges in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra neighbouring Chhattisgarh and southern Maharashtra bordering Karnataka.

Elephants have also seen increased presence in Madhya Pradesh found in Sanjay Tiger reserves and Bandhavgarh. Besides that, ranges have also increased in northern Andhra Pradesh where the elephants access movement from Odisha.

“In these states, long- term viability of habitats to support elephant populations, followed by data-driven approach in identifying corridors would be pertinent. Similarly, data on elephant movement remains sketchy in many northeastern states that harbour relatively small population of elephants,” the report said.

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