Project Elephant
Logo of Project Elephant
Elephant conservation overview
Parent departmentMinistry of Environment and Forests

Project Elephant was launched in 1992 by the Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests to provide financial and technical support to wildlife management efforts by states for their free-ranging populations of wild Asian elephants. The project aims to ensure the long-term survival of the population of elephants in their natural habitats by protecting them, their habitats and migration corridors. Other goals of Project Elephant are supporting the research of the ecology and management of elephants, creating awareness of conservation among local people, and providing improved veterinary care for captive elephants.[1][2]

Aims Project Elephant (PE) was launched by the Government of India in the year 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with following objectives:[1][2]

Monitoring elephant

Financial support is being provided to major elephant bearing States in the country. The Project is being mainly implemented in 16 States / UTs, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal. Main activities under the Project are as follows:[1][2]

Further information: List of Indian states by elephant population

As of 2010, 32 Elephant Reserves (ERs) extending over about 58,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) have been formally notified by various State Governments.[3] The list of Elephant Reserves with area and elephant population is as follows:[4]

Elephant reserves of Project Elephant in India (2005)
S.No. Reserve Name Range Estd. State Total area (km²) Population
1 Mayurjharna East-Central 2002 West Bengal 414 96
2 Singhbhum East-Central 2001 Jharkhand 4,530 371
3 Mayurbhanj East-Central 2001 Orissa 3.214 465
4 Mahanadi East-Central 2002 Orissa 1,038 464
5 Sambalpur East-Central 2002 Orissa 427 336
6 Baitarni East-Central Orissa 1,755 108
7 South Orissa East-Central Orissa 1,049 138
8 Lemru East-Central Chhattisgarh 450
9 Badalkhol-Tamorpingla East-Central Chhattisgarh 4,216 138
10 Kameng Kameng-Sonitpur 2002 Arunachal Pradesh 1,892
11 Sonitpur Kameng-Sonitpur 2003 Assam 1,420 612
12 Dihing-Patkai Eastern-South 2003 Assam 937 295
13 South Arunachal Eastern-South Arunachal Pradesh 900+ 129
14 Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Kaziranga 2003 Assam 3,270 1,940
15 Dhansiri-Lungding Kaziranga 2003 Assam 2,740 275
16 Intanki Kaziranga 2005 Nagaland 202 30
17 Chirang-Ripu North Bengal-Greater Manas 2003 Assam 2,600 658
18 Eastern Dooars North Bengal-Greater Manas 2002 West Bengal 978 300-350
19 Garo Hills Meghalaya 2001 Meghalaya 3,500 1,047
20 Khasi Hills Meghalaya Meghalaya 1,331 383
21 Mysore Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Karnataka 6,724 4,452
22 Wayanad Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Kerala 1,200 636
23 Nilgiri Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Tamil Nadu 4,663 2,862
24 Rayala Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Andhra Pradesh 766 12
25 Nilambur Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Kerala 1,419 281
26 Coimbatore Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Tamil Nadu 566 329
27 Anamalai Anamalai-Nelliampathy-High Range 2003 Tamil Nadu 1,457 179
28 Anamudi Anamalai-Nelliampathy-High Range 2002 Kerala 3,728 1,547
29 Periyar Periyar-Agasthyamalai 2002 Kerala 3,742 1,100
30 Srivilliputtur Periyar-Agasthyamalai 2003 Tamil Nadu 1,249 638
31 Shivalik[5] North-Western 2003 Uttarakhand 5,405 1,610
32 Uttar Pradesh North-Western 2009 Uttar Pradesh 744
33 Terai[6] North-Western 2022 Uttar Pradesh 3,072
Project Elephant Total 69,583 21,370


The first exclusive exercise for enumeration of wild elephants in the ERs was conducted during February to May 2005. This exercise also sought to experiment with two sampling methods, viz. Block sampling and Line transect-Dung Count. PE arranged for training of trainers and also issued detailed guidelines to the chief wildlife wardens and the field coordinators. Total population of elephants in 2005 was nearly 21,200.[4] The latest census carried out in 2012 put elephant numbers between 28,785and 31,368.[2][3]

Monitoring against poaching

Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme of CITES in 10 ERs since January 2004. It is mandated by COP resolution of CITES. Project Elephant was started in South Asia in 2003 with the following purposes:[1][2]

Data are collected from all sites on monthly basis in specified MIKE patrol form and submitted to Sub-Regional Support Office for South Asia Programme in Delhi who are assisting Ministry in implementation of the programme.


PE did a 36-months research (2003-04 to 2006-07) with the help of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, for developing high yielding varieties of paddy not relished by elephants; developing elephant-proof storage bins for food grains; and developing elephant repellents. The project is being carried out at the CRRI's research stations in Orissa and Assam. Two projects (2003-04 to 2006-07) with the help of the Assam Agricultural University on "Disease management in captive elephants" and "Anatomical studies on the Asian elephant" were conducted. PE entrusted WII with a small project (2004-05 to 2005-06) to study the impact of the relocation of the Gujjar on the flora and fauna of Rajaji National Park and with the Indian Statistical Institute helped the West Bengal Forest Department carry out a sample-based enumeration of elephants during 2005.[1]

PE has also imbibed the use of eco-tourism for generating extra revenue for the welfare of captive breeding programmes for elephants. PE has been organizing regular refresher courses for veterinarians dealing with wild and domesticated elephants at Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur and Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati. PE has initiated a programme for registration of domesticated elephants by using microchips. More than 1000 elephants have been microchipped so far in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar and Delhi etc. PE has organized necessary training for this purpose and also arranged for supply of standard microchips and readers to all the States known to possess domesticated elephants.[1][2]

More about PE

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Project Elephant". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Project Elephant". Government of India. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Elephant Reserves". ENVIS Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Census population 2005" (PDF). Note on Project Elephant. Ministry of Environment and Forests. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Shivakik Elephant Reserve" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Centre approves Terai Elephant Reserve in Uttar Pradesh". The Times of India. 2022-10-23. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2023-04-06.