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Elephant ( Elephas maximus ) is the largest terrestrial mammal of India . Elephant being wide ranging animal requires large areas . As per our mythology , elephant took birth from celestial waters and thus are closely associated with rains / water because of the belief. The requirement of food and water for elephants are very high and therefore their population can be supported only by forests that are under optimal conditions. The status of elephant can be the best indicator of the status of the forests. Asian elephants were believed to be widely distributed – from Tigris – Euphrates in West Asia eastward through Persia into the Indian sub-continent, South and Southeast Asia including Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and up to North China. However currently they are confined to Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia and some Asian Islands - Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. About 60% of the Asian elephant population is in India. Old literatures indicate that even during the Moghul period, elephants were found all over India including many part of Central India like Marwar, Chanderi, Satwas, Bijagarh and Panna. However current distribution of wild elephant in India is confined to South India ; North East including North West Bengal; Central Indian states of Orissa , South WB and Jharkhand; and North West India in Uttarakahnd and UP.

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

     1.    To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors

2.    To address issues of man-animal conflict

3.    Welfare of captive elephants

Financial and Technical support are 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.   Ecological restoration of existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants;

2.    Development of scientific and planned management for conservation of elephant habitats and viable population of Wild Asiatic elephants in India;

3.    Promotion of measures for mitigation of man elephant conflict in crucial habitats and moderating pressures of human and domestic stock activities in crucial elephant habitats;

4.    Strengthening of measures for protection of Wild elephants form poachers and unnatural causes of death;

5.    Research on Elephant management related issues;

6.    Public education and awareness programmes;

7.    Eco-development

8.    Veterinary care

9.    Elephant Rehabilitation/Rescue Centers


Outlay/Expenditure During5 Years Plans till 2014-15 (Rs. in Crores)

Estimation of wild elephant population in the year 2007 and 2012.

The all India enumeration of wild population of elephants in the country is carried out at every five year interval. The comparative figures as below for the states shows that the estimated population of wild elephants in the country has increased to 29391-30711 as compared to 27657-27682 in 2007.


Estimated Population of Wild Elephants 2007 and 2012

Elephent Reserves:

Till now 28 Elephant Reserves (ERs) extending over about 61830.08 sq km have been formally notified by various State Governments. Consent for establishment 2 more ERs – Khasi Elephant Reserve in Meghalaya and Dandeli Elephant Reserve in Karnataka has been accorded by MoEF&CC. Inclusion of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Mysore Elephant Reserve has also been approved by the Ministry.  The concerned State Governments are yet to notify these ERs.  


Elephant Reserves In India

State Wise Funds Released Under Project Elephant From 2008-09 to 2014-15

Fund Released For Ex-Gratia Under Project Elephant (upto August 2013)

Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants ( MIKE ) Programme

Mandated by COP resolution of CITES , MIKE program started in South Asia in the year 2003 with following purpose –
To provide information needed for elephant range States to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions, and to build institutional capacity within the range States for the long-term management of their elephant populations.
The main objectives of the MIKE are:

  1. To measure levels and trends in the illegal hunting of elephants;
  2. To determine changes in these trends over time; and
  3. To determine the factors causing or associated with such changes, and to try and assess in particular to what extent observed trends are a result of any decisions taken by the Conference of the Parties to CITES

Under the programme data are being collected from all sites on monthly basis in specified MIKE patrol form and submited to Sub Regional Support Office for South Asia Programme located in Delhi who are assisting Ministry in the implementation of the progremme.

Mike Sites in India

  1. Chirang Ripu (Assam )
  2. Dhang Patki ( Assam )
  3. Eastern Dooars ( WB )
  4. Deomali ( Arun Pradesh )
  5. Garo Hills ( Meghalaya )
  6. Mayurbhanj ( Orissa )
  7. Mysore ( Karnataka )
  8. Nilgiri ( T N )
  9. Shivalik ( Uttarakhand )
  10. Wayanad ( Kerala)


1st Meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Member of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was held at Bandipur National Park, Karnataka on 04.01.2015 on the subject “Project Elephant”.  Proceeding of the meeting is attached.

Steering Committee of the project Elephant has met 13 times since its inception.  Last meeting of the Steering Committee was held on 17th December, 2014 at Parliament House, New Delhi.  Proceeding of the meeting is attached.


Office Memorandum

  1. Guidelines for Management of Human Elephant Conflicts[PDF](4 MB)
  2.  Standards/Norms for Recognition of Elephant Rehabilitation/Rescue Centers under Section 42 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972[PDF](15.9 MB)