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Stress on better elephant management

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 10 - Over 75 experts from 15 countries attending the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) meeting here today stressed the need for better management of the issues concerning wild and captive elephants.

The experts discussed the current status of wild and captive Asian elephants and measures for long-term conservation of elephants.

The meeting was chaired by Vivek Menon, Chair of the AsESG and Executive Director and CEO, Wildlife Trust of India. Also in attendance were RK Srivastava, Inspector General and Director - Project Elephant; BS Bonal, Additional Director General (Wildlife), Government of India; Bikash Brahma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam.

Dr Simon Stuart, Advisor, IUCN Steering Committee, who was the chief guest, informed that the elephant experts would focus on the important decisions on elephant conservation for the future and managing the human-elephant conflict.

Bikash Brahma thanked the Chair for organising the meeting in Assam, especially since the human-elephant conflict is on the rise and a major concern for the conservation and welfare of the species and felt that the elephant experts gathered here would provide a concrete prescription for its conservation.

Vivek Menon informed that the experts would provide insights into and help formulate solutions to the complex issues that confront Asian elephants today, and which affect these magnificent creatures across all Asian range countries. He also felt that the group could help and assist the Range countries in developing the National Elephant Action Plan for all the 13 countries.

RK Srivastava said that habitat loss and degradation, human-elephant conflict and poaching of elephants are important threats to elephants in the country and the government is committed to the conservation of the species and working towards addressing these issues.

BS Bonal was of the view that in spite of increasing human population and developmental need, India still has large populations of elephants, one-horned rhinos, tiger and various other species of flora and fauna and this has been possible due to the joint efforts of the government, conservation NGOs and local community.

The meet also honoured former Chairs of AsESG and GAJAH for their services.

The meeting will continue till November 12 and discuss the management and conservation of Asian elephant in wild and captivity.

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