THE CRITICAL NEED FOR ELEPHANT RESERVES
India’s elephants are an indispensable part of our nation’s heritage, and their protection is enshrined in our laws and culture. Thus far, India has proven to be a world leader in the conservation of elephants, remaining home to some 60% of the planet’s wild Asian elephants. This remarkable achievement is in large part due to strong laws and policies to conserve the National Heritage Animal, as well as conservation efforts in states where elephants are found.
The recent debate about denotifying Shivalik Elephant Reserve in Uttarakhand suggests the need for India to review why elephant reserves are important, reaffirm our commitment to protecting elephant habitat, and reimagine how we can reconcile elephant conservation with other critical priorities such as economic development and national security. In this report, we use Shivalik Elephant Reserve as an example to demonstrate the importance of the protections offered by elephant reserves and explore how discussions about the management of elephant reserves can reconcile conservation and development objectives.
This report highlights how the ecological and conservation benefits from elephant reserves could motivate decision-makers to explore creative ways to realize economic and national security objectives while also safeguarding India’s unparalleled natural inheritance.