WCS – India has been actively involved in the study and conservation of the Asian Elephant. Some of the tools that we have developed and used extensively for research and monitoring include camera trapping, line transect sampling, habitat occupancy surveys and modelling and modern genetic methodologies. Monitoring the integrity and quality of wildlife habitats, threat assessment and conservation monitoring has been an integral part of our conservation approach for Asian elephants.
We have monitored a total area of 22,000 square km of prime wildlife habitat in the Western Ghats of Karnataka that shelters the meta populations of the Asian Elephant. These monitoring efforts at two levels included: large scale distribution and occupancy survey at the landscape level and fine-scale monitoring of key source populations at the level of protected reserves. At present, our work is focussed in the North East where our research teams are looking at habitat connectivity issues as well as mitigation measures for human-elephant conflict.
Student projects supported by WCS – India have also addressed a variety of questions, including novel approaches to estimating elephant densities, prevalence of disease in wild elephants, impact of landcover changes on human-elephant conflict, factors affecting elephant distribution and conflict in a fragmented landscape, among others.