New Delhi, Aug 10: The government today said that construction activities and deforestation have adversely affected the natural habitat of elephants, whose population was a little over 27,300 last year. To conserve habitats, the central and state governments are taking various steps, including afforestation and reforestation, to prevent the death of animals and human beings, Union Minister Harsha Vardhan said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
Citing a preliminary report, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said there were 27,312 elephants in 2017. Sharma was responding to supplementaries during the Question Hour on behalf of Vardhan, who is the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Sharma said the highest population of elephants was in Kerala.
There was no death of elephants due to poaching in 2017- 18 while the number stood at 16 in 2015-16, he added. He also said "it is a fact that construction activities and deforestation, have adversely affected the natural habitat of elephants.
"Fragmentation and deforestation is severely affecting the animals, including elephants," Vardhan said in the written reply. He also said that improvement of national parks, wildlife sanctuary, critical habitat, including that of elephant reserves and corridors, was regularly carried out so that there is enough food and shelter available for elephants.