July 11, 2018
Number of elephants in Bengal rises
The latest elephant census by the State Forest Department by the direct count method has resulted in a rise in their numbers from 590 (in 2014) to 682.
This time elephants in the forests of both north and south Bengal were counted unlike the last time, when only north Bengal was considered.
A simultaneous census is being done by the dung decay method, whose result is being awaited. According to the State chief wildlife warden, it will give a more accurate result and cause a probable rise in the number, as in direct sighting method it is possible that some elephants remain uncounted because of non-visibility in dense forests.
And anyway, said the chief wildlife warden, counts can differ from year to year and a little decrease is nothing to worry about as, being migratory animals, there is an average of more than a hundred elephants always on the move. From south Bengal they move to Odisha and Jharkhand and from north Bengal they move to Assam and countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
The State Forest Department now compiles a daily report on the elephant movement through WhatsApp and other messaging services with the help of the locals. This helps the Government to have an approximate idea of their range-wise presence and alert locals about probable encroachments on human settlements.
The dung decay method to count elephants, whose result is awaited, was first used in India in the Buxa forests in north Bengal. In this method, various factors are observed, including dung density, decay rate and defecation rate, to arrive at a final number.
Source: Millennium Post