New Delhi, Jun 28 (UNI) Catching wild elephants and passing them off as domesticated animals may not be so easy now as the Ministry of Environment and Forests was fast on the task of implanting microchips in all domesticated pachyderms.
''About 1700 elephants have been given implants so far, and the work on preparing inventory of domesticated elephants was also going on,'' Director Project Elephant A N Prasad told UNI.
He said the microchips would carry all the information about an elephant which would make its identity very clear.
In this connection, referring to the demand for lifting a ban on the sale of domesticated elephants, he said the government could not consider the option unless the work of inventory making and microchipping was completed.
Owners of elephants have been demanding that they be allowed to sell their animals in case they find themselves unable to maintain their animal.
The Ministry has been rejecting this demand on the ground that once the sale was allowed, people might catch wild animals and sell them to make money.
However, the microchipping solution might defeat the designs of the wildlife criminals. The work in implanting microchips has so far been taken up in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman&Nicobar and Delhi, etc under the Project Elephant.
The Project has organised necessary training for this purpose and also arranged for supply of standard microchips and readers to all the states known to possess domesticated elephants.
There are only 17 states in which elephants exist in wild state.
According to the 2002 Census, there are 26413 elephants in the country and their population was rising.
The rising population along with the loss of habitat was one of the main reason of the rising man-elephant conflict.
Project Elephant (PE), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for the protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors. It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants.
The Project is being implemented in 13 States / UTs , viz Andhra pradesh , Arunachal Pradesh , Assam , Jharkhand , Karnataka , Kerala , Meghalaya , Nagaland , Orissa , Tamil Nadu , Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme of CITES in 10 Elephant regions since 2004.
These include Shiwalik (Uttarakhand); Eastern Dooars (West Bengal); Mayurbhanj (Orissa); Ripu-Chirang and Dehing-Patkai (Assam); Garo Hills (Meghalaya); Deomali (Arunachal Pradesh); Wayanad (Kerala), Mysore (Karnataka) and Nilgiri (TamilNadu).
UNI NAZ RSA GC1415