List of Elephant Reserves in India: Conservation Efforts, Objectives, Project Elephant, MIKE Programme, Haathi Mere Saathi Campaign


Elephants are one of the most adored and awed animals in the world. India is home to the Asiatic Elephants species. Due to Poaching and habitat loss, the elephant population in India was declining drastically. Elephant is an endangered species in the IUCN Red List. To protect, rehabilitate and conserve the Asiatic Elephant population and their habitat in India the Indian Government started the project Elephant in 1992. 

Under this initiative, governments of different states establish elephant reserves to protect the population of elephants and their natural habitat while managing their pathways and setting up elephant corridors. India has a significant elephant population in 16 out of 28 states. Elephants are found mostly in south India due to its climatic conditions favouring elephants. Elephants thrive in climatic conditions like humidity,  good rainfall, evergreen forests, high temperatures with wet conditions, and mostly equatorial types of climate. 


Elephant – The National Heritage Animal

After the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Asian Elephant is one of the major animals in India. Even sometimes India is pictured with cultural elephant symbols. Elephants are associated with the different religious traditions and mythological stories in India. Indian Elephant is the National Heritage animal of India. It is considered as an embodiment of Lord Ganesha. 

The elephant’ population has declined by more than half in the past century. That’s why elephants are on the IUCN Red List in the endangered category. The main reason for the decline in the population of elephants is poaching and habitat loss. Other reasons include environmental degradation, fragmentation and man-elephant conflicts. Poaching for Ivory is a dangerous threat to elephants even in today’s time. 


What is Project Elephant?

In 2010 the elephant was announced as the national heritage animal of India by the government on the recommendations of the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife. Under the Project Elephant scheme, the government decided to set up Elephant Reserves to manage and protect the declining population of elephants in India along with the restoration of their natural habitat. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the Department of Environment and Climate Change of the government of India supports finance and technical support to set up elephant reserves and manage of free-roaming elephant population in the states. 


National Elephant Conservation Authority (NECA)  On the recommendation of Gaj report 2010 establishment of a statutory body as National Elephant Conservation Authority (NECA) was proposed by the amendment of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The proposal is still in the processing stage. 

State Elephants (2017-18)
Karnataka 6049
Assam 5719
Kerala 3054
Tamil Nadu 2761
Odisha 1976
Uttarakhand 1839
Meghalaya 1754
Arunachal Pradesh 1614
Jharkhand 679
Nagaland 446
Chhattisgarh 247
Uttar Pradesh 232
West Bengal 194
Tripura 102
Andhra Pradesh 65
Bihar 25
Gujarat 10
Madhya Pradesh 7
Mizoram 7
Maharashtra 6

Project Elephant Objectives

The Indian Elephant species is included in the list of protective species according to schedule one of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 along with the status of endangered species in the IUCN Red List and protective species in the convention of International Trade in endangered species of Flora and fauna (CITES). After that tremendous effort in order to achieve a stable population of elephants in India, the results are showing positive insight. In 2012 the elephant population in India was around 31,368 and till 2017 it fell to the level of 27,312. After 2017 the population of elephants is increasing potentially. From 1992 when the elephant project was started around 15000  elephants have increased in the population. Here’s the objective of the Project Elephant. 


  • To make sure elephants are well in domesticated conditions. 
  • To protect and conserve elephants, their corridors and habitats.
  • To eliminate the human-elephant conflicts. 


Aims of Project Elephant

  • Making and promotion of scientific and well-managed strategies to conserve elephants. 
  • To stop poaching, take preventive and protective measures and make rules against illegal ivory trading. 
  • Making planning to mitigate causes of elephants’ unnatural death in India
  • To make plans to prevent and reduce man-elephant conflicts in forest and village border areas. 
  • Promote restoration of natural ecological habitats and migratory routes of elephants. 
  • To spread awareness and promote scientific research on the problems related to the declining population of elephants in India along with educating and increasing understanding in the general public. 
  • To reduce and stop domestic livestock grazing and provide alternative means of fodder. To reduce the burden on natural habitats in forests. 
  • To promote and facilitate proper veterinary care for various illnesses during the breeding season for domestic and forest elephants. 


Project Elephant: Sanctuaries & Elephant Reserves In India

Project Elephant is a centrally sponsored scheme under the Ministry of environment for distant climate change, Government of India. The scheme has been implemented in India in around 22 states and union territories. A total number of around 32 reserves are present in India. The first elephant reserve was established in Jharkhand, the Singhbhum elephant reserve in 1992. The Nilambur Elephant Reserve was established in 2002 under the project Elephant in the state of Kerala. The list of elephant reserves in India is mentioned in the table below. 


Zone  State Elephant Reserves
North-Western Landscape Uttrakhand Shivalik Elephant Reserve
Uttarpradesh Uttar Pradesh Elephant Reserve
East-Central Landscape West Bengal  Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve
Jharkhand Singhbhum Elephant Reserve
Orissa Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve

Mahanadi Elephant Reserve

Sambalpur Elephant Reserve

Baitami Elephant Reserve

South Orissa Elephant Reserve

Chhattisgarh Lemru Elephant Reserve

Badalkhol – Tamor Pingla Elephant Reserve

Kameng- Sonitpur Landscape Arunachal Pradesh Kameng Elephant Reserve
Assam Sonitpur Elephant Reserve
Eastern-South Bank Landscape Assam Dihing-Patkai Elephant Reserve
Arunachal Pradesh South Arunachal Elephant Reserve
Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong-Intanki Landscape Assam Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve

Dhansiri-Lungding Elephant Reserve

Nagaland Intanki Elephant Reserve
North Bengal- Greater Manas Landscape Assam Chirang-Ripu Elephant Reserve
West Bengal Eastern Dooars Elephant Reserve
Meghalaya Landscape Meghalaya Garo Hills Elephant Reserve

Khasi-hills Elephant Reserve

Brahmagiri- Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats Landscape Karnataka Mysore Elephant Reserve
Kerala Wayanad Elephant Reserve

Nilambur Elephant Reserve

Tamil Nadu Coimbatore Elephant Reserve

Nilgiri Elephant Reserve

Andhra Pradesh Rayala Elephant Reserve
Annamalai- Nelliyampathy- High Range Landscape Tamil Nadu Annamalai Elephant Reserve
Kerala Anamudi Elephant Reserve
Periyar- Agasthyamalai Landscape Kerala Periyar Elephant Reserve
Tamil Nadu Srivilliputhur Elephant Reserve


Project Elephant – MIKE Programme

The full form of MIKE in Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants programme. It was established in 2003 in South Asia after the conference of parties under CITES. The main objective of the MIKE program is to collect information of the elephant population in different countries for making strategies and long-term protection and management programmes. 


The objectives of the MIKE program:

  • To take preventive measures and strict action against illegal coaching for the ivory trade of elephants.
  • To identify the factors that are responsible for changing and declining the population and evaluation of the actions and implementations by the conference of parties to CITES


Haathi Mere Saathi Campaign

In partnership with Wildlife Trust of India, the ministry of Environment, forest and Climate Change ab the Government of India has begun a campaign called Haathi mere Saathi. The aim of this initiative is to develop good relations between the local population and elephants and increase awareness about the rehabilitation and conservation of the elephant population and their habitat. This campaign was launched on 24th May 2011 at Elephant 8 ministerial meetings in New Delhi. Kenya, Botswana, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, India and Thailand are the member countries in the Elephant 8 ministerial meeting.


Also Read:-

List of National Parks in India 2024: State Wise Complete List

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