What has Karnataka done right to save its elephant population? The state has succeeded in saving its population of around 6,200 elephants while three critical elephant corridors, especially West Bengal, has seen the decimation of around 500 elephants.
India has nine critical elephants corridors spread from across the northeast down to Karnataka and Kerala.
Karnataka has implemented a host of measures, including a network of extended elephant-proof trenches. The state has also opted to set up an extensive solar fencing system stretching over 600 km to prevent elephants from approaching railway tracks. Forest guards have also been asked to work on a priority basis to ensure that stray elephants are moved back under supervision to their herds in Karnataka.
Dr Dipankar Ghose, director, species and landscape conservation programme of theWWF, is all praise for the Karnataka model which he believes must be replicated in the states of the N-E, WB, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Orissa.
Elephant deaths have been reduced in Rajaji National Park located in Uttarakhand where the environment ministry has succeeded in putting pressure on the ministry of railways to ensure that trains frequenting an 18-kilometre stretch of the forest area are driven at a slow speed.
The WWF is pressing on the ministry of railways to slow down train speeds across elephant corridor states. They also want the state governments to undertake the construction of extended trenches and putting solar fencing systems. These are expensive. The Karnataka state government has spent over `14 crore in putting these measures in place. Other state governments are cash strapped and, therefore, are hoping that satellite tracking of the jumbos will help prevent their deaths.