Jumbo rise in elephant corridors (New Delhi)
September 14, 2023
Since 2010, India has seen a remarkable increase in elephant corridors,
rising from 88 to a commendable 150. These vital land strips span across 15
range-States within four elephant-rich regions, providing unimpeded
pathways for these majestic creatures.
This progress is a testament to the combined efforts of State forest
departments and Project Elephant, as emphasised by officials from the Union
Environment Ministry. They underscore the imperative to establish secure
migratory routes for elephants, ultimately mitigating human-elephant
A thorough examination of the report, titled “Elephant Corridors of India,”
reveals that while 69 corridors have witnessed unhampered movement of
elephants, 29 have seen an uptick in their utilisation. Movement has
remained stable in 29 corridors, whereas in 29 others, elephant traffic has
Out of the total corridors, 15 have been compromised and necessitate
restoration efforts to regain full functionality. Information regarding the
current usage of 18 corridors by elephants was not available.
In India, approximately 400 people and 100 elephants fall victim to
man-animal conflicts each year. This peril is poised to escalate as
elephants increasingly contend with their habitats being fragmented by
rapid urbanisation, highways, and industrial expansion like mining.
Moreover, climate change-induced temperature fluctuations and extreme
weather conditions exacerbate their plight due to resource and fodder
Among the four regions in India known for their elephant populations, the
east-central region leads with an impressive 52 elephant corridors,
followed by the northeast with 48, and the southern region with 32. The
northern region lags behind with only 18 elephant corridors.
An authentic elephant corridor serves as a land strip facilitating the
movement of elephants between two or more viable habitat patches. Corridors
that lead animals into human-dominated areas without connecting to suitable
habitat patches are not deemed true elephant corridors.
Demographic isolation and concerns about genetic viability pose a
significant extinction risk to elephant populations. Therefore,
safeguarding these corridors stands as a pivotal conservation strategy, as
highlighted in the report, which defines a corridor as a land strip
enabling the movement of elephants between viable habitat patches.
As of the last estimation in 2017, India is home to around 30,000
elephants, constituting 60 per cent of the global elephant population. West
Bengal leads the nation with the highest number of elephant corridors,
accounting for over 17 percent of such crucial land patches.
States where elephants have recently expanded their ranges, such as the
Vidarbha region in Maharashtra adjacent to Chhattisgarh, southern
Maharashtra adjoining Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh (where elephants presently
inhabit Bandhavgarh and Sanjay tiger reserves), and northern Andhra Pradesh
(where elephants migrate in from Odisha), must assess the long-term
viability of habitats to sustain elephant populations.
Adopting a data-driven approach to identify corridors is paramount in these
regions, as articulated in the report. Furthermore, the report notes that
data on elephant movement remains limited in many northeastern States
hosting relatively small elephant populations.