Animals are such lovely creatures, but we humans keep goading them with our atrocious activities. Throwing a tied dog in the river, chopping the jaw of a cat, feeding a hungry pregnant elephant a pineapple loaded with crackers, surrendering your pet dog for meat, and what not.
These are only a handful of examples of animal cruelty that have surfaced from various parts of the world. In reality, we can’t even imagine what is being done to many innocent animals on a daily basis.
However, various NGOs and authorities are devising some unique ways to preserve the fauna in our country. An initiative has been launched under the aegis of ‘Project Elephant’ which aims to allot Aadhaar cards to 2700 captive elephants across the country.
Yes, you read it right; elephants will get their own Unique Identification Numbers (UIN). I wish they could also carry an ID card with their cute pictures on them.
Project Elephant was launched in 1992 to provide financial and technical support to the state authorities for their efforts in the wildlife management of the free-ranging populations of wild Asian elephants. It was launched by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
But Why Aadhaar Card?
India has marked a certain number of cases of atrocities against elephants leading to their tragic deaths. As a result, this project was launched to protect them from abuse, poaching, and various illegal activities.
The basic plan is to collect the blood and faecal samples of almost 2700 captive elephants across the country and allot them UIN on the basis of their DNA.
In a report by Times of India, the director of Project Elephant, Noyal Thomas said, “This exercise will give a unique identity number to the elephants just like an Aadhaar Card which will be generated based on their DNA.”
Adding to this, he said, “The genetic mapping will ensure that each captive elephant in the country is only kept by an authorized person after getting a nod from the state chief wildlife warden. Thus, it will ensure that all the captive elephants are under the scanner of the state forest department and any kind of wildlife crime like poaching of their tusks or bones do not take place.”
The practice of genetic mapping is undertaken by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). As per Dhananjai Mohan, director of WII, the data will be kept at the Elephant Cell of WII, which was inaugurated in 2019.
The benefits of genetic mapping are manifold as it won’t let the owners of the elephants to torture or manhandle them. It enables tracking of any elephant to provide food, treatment or any other support. Also, it helps in keeping a track of the population of captive elephants and evaluating the same.
Asian Elephant: A Threatened Species
There are a total of 55,000 elephants in Asia, of which 30,000 belong to India. In fact, India has the highest number of captive elephants followed by Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Assam has around 1000 captive elephants, which is the maximum in the country. Then come Kerala and Tamil Nadu that have around 500 and 300 captive elephants respectively.
In India, these elephants are primarily used for forestry operations to preserve forests and wildlife, while in other countries of Asia, they are primarily used for other purposes.
There is a dire need to protect the elephants held captive in many Asian countries. Asian elephants have been categorized as an endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Keeping track of these animals using Unique Identification Numbers moves us one step closer to our goal of protecting them.
Image credits: Google Images
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