On World Elephant Day (12 August), PM Modi said that India is home to about 60% of all Asian elephants and reaffirmed India’s commitment to protecting the jumbos.

Also, the Government of India declared the establishment of a new elephant reserve – Agasthyamalai (Tamil Nadu), and resolved to take a number of steps to address human-elephant conflict situations.



  • Agasthyamalai will be the country’s 32nd elephant reserve —
    • Adding another protected area dedicated to conservation of elephants, Tamil Nadu (TN) gets its 5th Elephant Reserve at Agasthyamalai in Tirunelveli district.
    • This has brought the total area under elephant reserves in India to about 76,508 sq km across 14 states.
  • A fresh push to curb unnatural elephant deaths —
    • At the 17th steering committee meeting of Project Elephant held at Periyar National Park in Kerala, the Union Environment Ministry announced –
      • To curb unnatural elephant deaths by taking up track casualties with the Railway Ministry.
      • To hold workshops across the country to address human-elephant conflict.
      • To set up a panel to look into the deaths of elephants in Odisha (by accidents with trains and electrocution) and Jharkhand and furnish a detailed report to the Centre.
      • To develop separate management plans for elephants, which should be incorporated into the management plans of reserves, national parks, sanctuaries and territorial divisions’ working plans.



  • According to the 2017 census by Project Elephant, India has the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at 29,964 – about 60% of the species’ global population.
  • Friction between humans and elephants occurs mainly over space and is a major conservation concern across the country.
  • This is because the human-elephant conflict kills approximately 500 people, 100 jumbos and crops and property worth millions are also damaged each year across the country.
  • The day was officially founded, supported and launched by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation on August 12, 2012.


About Asian Elephants –

  • India is the natural home of the largest population of Asian elephants. It is also found in Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.
  • It usually resides in shrublands, artificial/terrestrial forests and grasslands.
  • It is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. It is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The current population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000-60000 Asian elephants in the world. More than 60% of the population is held in India.
  • The earliest indications of captive use of Asian elephants are engravings on seals of the Indus Valley Civilisation dated to the 3rd millennium BC.


Project Elephant

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme and was launched in February 1992.
  • Objectives —
        • To protect elephants, their habitat and corridors.
        • To address issues of man-animal conflict.
        • Welfare of captive elephants.
        • to promote not to harm elephants for their tusks.