Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Friday said human-elephant conflicts are increasing due to “competition for resources”, with around 500 people in the country dying in elephant attacks and 100 jumbos “killed in retaliation” annually.
Addressing an event to mark the World Elephant Day at the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, the minister said India has emerged as a pioneer in elephant conservation and managing human-elephant conflicts is the major focus of the government.
“With competition for resources, (the number of) human-animal conflicts are increasing, and it is very unfortunate that around 500 people are killed in elephant attacks and 100 jumbos are killed in retaliation annually,” Yadav said.
“Managing human-elephant conflict is the major focus of the government. The Narendra Modi government has increased the ex-gratia amount for families of those killed in elephant attacks from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
“To find a long-term solution, we are revisiting the elephant corridors of the country and have finished more than 50 per cent of the task involving key stakeholders,” he said.
According to government data presented in Parliament last month, 1,578 people have died in elephant attacks in the country in the last three years.
The government said 222 elephants have died due to electrocution, 45 in train accidents, 29 due to poaching and 11 died due to poisoning during this period.
Yadav said India has done remarkably well in elephant conservation despite challenges.
The country has 29,964 jumbos, according to the latest elephant census in 2017.
“India continues to be a leader in elephant conservation. It has the largest and most stable population of asian elephants. In fact, more than 60 percent of the wild asian elephants are in India,” the minister said.