Rise in elephant population in Assam

Guwahati: Despite man-animal conflict arising out of encroachment of animal habitats, there has been a rise in elephant population in Assam.

According to the latest census, there are about 5620 elephants in the state in 20 wildlife sanctuaries and two world heritage sites, the Kaziranga National Park and the Manas wild life sanctuary.

The 25 protected areas house 3,054 elephants, while the reserve forests have the remainder, an elephant census release here said. There are 50 elephants in revenue reserve areas of the state.

The census report reveals the presence of the pachyderms in Kaziranga, the forests of Karbi Anglong, Dihing Patkai and the Lungding reserve forest. Among the sanctuaries, the KNP has the highest of 1,165 elephants followed by Manas having 645 of them.

Manas has the highest density of elephants among the national parks with 189 per 100 sq km while Kaziranga is the second with 135.63 per 100 sq km and Orang Rajiv Gandhi Sanctuary third with 5.08 per 100 sq km.

According to the census report, the Nameri National Park in Sonitpur district and Barnadi Sanctuary are also among the wildlife parks which have a considerable elephant population.

The agewise structure in elephant population show 51 per cent in the adult category, 20 per cent in the sub adult, 12 per cent juvenile and 17 per cent calves, the report said. The male-female ratio and its percentage is 1:1.2 and 45 to 55 per cent respectively.

Contacted, Forest minister Rockybul Hussain said the Rapid Action Force has been deployed by the forest department to contain the man-animal conflict which has resulted out of rapid depredation of forest areas and animal habitats.