Taking a step forward to safeguard elephants from illegal captivation, the Wildlife Institute of India is collecting the DNA of domesticated elephants from across India and will soon issue Adhaar like Unique Identity Number (UIN) to them.
Dhananjai Mohan, director of WII said, “The data is being collected after which further process will be done.”
The exercise is an initiative under ‘Project Elephant’ to ensure tamed elephants are safeguarded from any kind of foul play including their illegal export to foreign countries.
Currently, India has over 27,000 elephants out of which 2,454 are domesticated elephants. Among these, around 1,000 can be found in Assam followed by Kerala (500) and Tamil Nadu (300).
When we sieve the duties of the domesticated elephants in India, we find that 1,687 of them are owned by individuals and the remaining work in circuses and religious institutions.
For the unaware, elephants in India are safeguarded as a Schedule I animal, under Section 40 (2) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. An individual or institution in India can’t possess, acquire, dispose of and transport a captive elephant without written permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the Authorized officer under the WPA, 1972.