Elephant reserves in India 2022 (Updated)

Elephant Reserves in India 2022 – Elephant reserves are areas approved by the government of India and notified by the state government for the protection and conservation of Elephants. There are 30 elephant reserves in India. Baitami (Odisha) and Lemru (Chhattisgarh) are the 2 new elephant reserves that have been approved by the Government of India but yet to be notified by the state government. The Government of India started elephant conservation by introducing the Project Elephant (1992). The elephant reserves in India were identified as those where wild elephants find their natural habitat. The elephant reserves in India not only help in their conservation but also ensure the health of the ecosystem.

Why is elephant conservation important?

India is home to around 30,000 wild and domestic Asian elephants. And, elephants are the keystone species in their ecosystem. They help in maintaining biodiversity by their natural activities. While walking into the forest, they disperse the seeds from one place to another. They create pathways for several other animals. When they create gaps in the vegetation it allows the fresh plants to grow up. The elephant dung happens to be a byproduct of the plants they eat. When they leave dung, the seeds are sown and grow into new plants.

What is Project Elephant?

A centrally sponsored scheme, Project Elephant was launched in 1992 to assist states having free-ranging population of wild elephants. The primary objective of Project Elephant is to ensure the survival of the wild elephants and the safety of their natural habitats. 

Under this project, states are given financial as well as technical help to achieve the objectives. This also included help being provided for the census, staff training etc. Around 16-18 states have notified the elephant reserves under Project Elephant. The activities that are detrimental to elephant conservation are regulated in the elephant reserves in India. These activities include poaching, mining, deforestation etc.

Project Elephant: Objectives

  • To protect elephants and their habitat.
  • Mitigation of man-animal conflicts.
  • The welfare of domesticated elephants.

Important activities under Project Elephant

  • Protecting the wild elephant from poaching 
  • Restoration and conservation migratory routes of elephant habitats by scientific means.
  • Mitigation of man-animal conflict in problem areas and moderating pressures of human and livestock on crucial elephant habitats.
  • To provide veterinary care to the elephants
  • Researching issues related to the conservation of the elephant.
  • Spreading public awareness of elephant conservation
  • Capacity building of field staff, mahouts and veterinarians.

Elephant reserves in India 2022

Elephant reserveState
Shivalik elephant reserveUttrakhand
Uttar Pradesh elephant reserveUttar Pradesh
Mayurjharna elephant reserveWest Bengal
Singhbhum elephant reserveJharkhand
Mayurbhanj elephant reserveOrissa
Mahanadi elephant reserveOrissa
Sambalpur elephant reserveOrissa
*Baitami elephant reserveOrissa
South Orissa elephant reserveOrissa
*Lemru elephant reserveChhattisgarh
Badalkhol – Tamorpingla elephant reserveChhattisgarh
Kameng elephant reserveArunachal
Sonitpur elephant reserveAssam
Dihing-Patkai elephant reserveAssam
South Arunachal elephant reserveArunachal
Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong elephant reserveAssam
Dhansiri-Lungding elephant reserveAssam
Intanki elephant reserveNagaland
Chirang-Ripu elephant reserveAssam
Eastern Dooars elephant reserveWest Bengal
Garo Hills elephant reserveMeghalaya
Khasi-hills elephant reserveMeghalaya
Mysore elephant reserveKarnataka
Wayanad elephant reserveKerala
Nilgiri elephant reserveTamil Nadu
Rayala elephant reserveAndhra
Nilambur elephant reserveKerala
Coimbatore elephant reserveTamil Nadu
Anamalai elephant reserveTamil Nadu
Anamudi elephant reserveKerala
Periyar elephant reserveKerala
Srivilliputhur elephant reserveTamil Nadu

*Baitami (Odisha) and Lemru (Chhattisgarh) elephant reserves are yet to be notified by the state government.

Elephant corridors project: Right to passage

The Wildlife Trust of India has identified 101 elephant corridors across the country. The elephant corridors are strips that connect the fragments of protected areas and provide a safe passage to the elephants. 

Being a nomadic species, elephants require large areas for their movement. They walk around 15 km in a day and their home range can be spread across 300-400 sq. km. The elephant corridors are a cover-up work (safe passages) provided by the man who earlier destroyed the elephant habitat by bringing developmental activities in their free-roaming areas.

Distribution of elephant corridors

South India28
North-Western India11
Central India25
Northern Western Bengal14
North-Eastern India23

Threats to elephant corridors

The primary threat to the elephant corridors is the developmental activities such as the construction of buildings, roads, railways, resorts etc. 

Mining is also one of the biggest threats to elephant corridors. The mining issues in elephant corridors can be seen in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, and central India. Mining of coal and iron in these states has led to an increase in man-animal conflicts.

Elephants are also threatened by poaching activities. The ivory from the tusk of elephants is considered a valuable product in the international markets and is sold at high prices.

Interestingly, even though we claim to have 101 elephant corridors, the number of elephant corridors in protected areas are very less (around 25%). This leaves out a lot of scope for more human domination in elephant corridor areas and reserves.

Monitoring of illegal killing of Elephant (MIKE) programme

The MIKE programme was established by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by a resolution at the 10th Conference of the Parties in 1997. The programme seeks to observe and collect data on the illegal hunting of the elephants so the law enforcement agencies may take appropriate measures for elephant conservation.

In South Asia, the MIKE programme started in 2003 with the following objectives. 

  • Measure and analyse the trends in the illegal hunting of elephants.
  • To support law enforcement agencies by providing the necessary information for elephant conservation.
  • It observe the effects of the decisions made by the conference of parties to CITES for elephant conservation.

MIKE sites in India

Chirang-Ripu Elephant ReserveDeomali Elephant Reserve
Dihing Patkai Elephant ReserveGaro Hills Elephant Reserve
Eastern Dooars Elephant ReserveMayurbhanj Elephant Reserve
Shivalik Elephant ReserveMysore Elephant Reserve
Nilgiri Elephant ReserveWayanad Elephant Reserve

Also read: Tiger reserves in India