As many as 429 elephants were poached and killed in the country since 2008 and 642 poachers arrested, revealed a data obtained through an RTI query.
In 2008, 53 elephants were killed in the country, but the number came down to only five in 2018 all five in Assam, according to the data provided by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The bureau is a statutory body formed to combat organised wildlife crime in the country.
Notably, there are nine states and Union Territories -- Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangan, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli from where no such killings have been reported since 2008, it said.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand each reported 21 such killings during the period.
As per data available in records of the bureau based on the information from state forest and police departments, 642 poachers have been arrested for killing elephants during last 10 years, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau said in its reply to the RTI.
Tomar had also sought to know the elephant census of 2008 and 2018 but the bureau said no such data was maintained by it, neither was information available on the estimated amount of tusks and other elephant body parts recovered from poachers during the period.
It is essential to save wildlife if we want to protect the environment. Animals like elephants and tigers are critical to our survival because they are on the top of their food chains and losing them could endanger our existence, he added.
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