Centre's decision to confer 'National Heritage' status on elephants welcomed

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Siliguri (West Bengal), Oct.29 (ANI): Wildlife authorities in West Bengal hail the decision of Central Government to confer the 'National Heritage' status on elephants, as it would improve conservation efforts.

The status has been welcomed by environmentalists, particularly in the wake of several instances of elephants being killed by electrocution, speeding trains, encroachment into elephant corridors and man-animal conflict.

The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Siliguri district, Tapas Das, said that after the announcement of the National Heritage status, more importance would be given to the elephants and their protection.

"Now people will come up with many more conservation techniques and more importance will be given in case of conservation of elephants. More importance will be given in case of protection of the elephants, in (against) depredation of elephant. So, each and every field where elephants are present, will get due importance," said Das.

The forest rangers are being trained in sensing the presence of elephants, and also to make villagers living in forest areas more aware of the protected status of elephants in order to minimise the man-animal conflict.

"We will conduct awareness programmes and we will tell people what to do and what not to do when elephants are there. We are trying to do some kind of early morning system in the villages. So all these are being taken up," said Das.

Home to 50,000 wild Asian elephants a century ago, India had just 26,400 jumbos roaming in its national parks and forests in 2002.

However, the first ever-comprehensive elephant census data published in 2005 showed a steep drop in the numbers to just 21,300. By Tarak Sarkar(ANI)

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