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Assam's elephant population increasing

Assam,Environment/Wildlife, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

Guwahati, March 31 (IANS) Assam has recorded a remarkable growth in its elephant population, according to the recently concluded elephant census in the state.


The elephant census this year recorded a total of 5,620 elephants in Assam compared to 5,246 elephants in the 2009 census year, state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said and added that an increase of 374 in the jumbo population was a good indication. The forest minister also released a report regarding the elephant census.


The age-wise composition of the elephant population showed 51 percent adult, 20 percent sub-adult, 12 percent juvenile and 17 percent calf -- which is also considered to be normal for a healthy population, the report said.


The census report also noted that the 25 protected areas (PAs) -- 20 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks recorded 3,054 elephants while the managed forests (including reserve forests, proposed reserve forests, district council reserve forests and unclassed forests) were found to be sheltering 2,516 elephants. The census has recorded 50 other elephants in revenue areas.


Among the sanctuaries and national parks, Kaziranga National Park (KNP) had the highest elephant population with 1,165 elephants. Manas National Park (MNP) followed, recording 945 elephants.


Another important factor which emerged out of the census was that Manas National Park recorded the highest density among the National Parks with 189 elephants per 100 square km. Kaziranga's density was found to be second highest with 135.63 elephants per 100 square km. Rajiv Gandhi National Park at Orang in Darrang district recorded the lowest density with only 5.08 elephants per 100 square km, the report said.


The Nameri National Park and Dibru Saikhowa National Park recorded elephant populations of 233 and 115, respectively, the report mentioned.


Among all the Protected Areas (PAs), Barnadi wildlife sanctuary recorded the highest elephant density with 389.02 per 100 square km followed by Gibbon wildlife sanctuary with 166.83 elephants per 100 square km, the report said.


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