Captive jumbos in Tamil Nadu are being registered with embedded microchips

November 14th, 2007 - 2:25 am ICT by admin  
The technique, officials said, will give the elephants a unique identification number that will help prevent manipulation of records, check elephant poaching and further domestication of wild animals.

The concept will also help the forest authorities in making periodical assessments of the status of the elephants, as well as formulating policies for the protection of the captive pachyderms.

“In accordance with the directives of the Union Ministry and the warden’s order, micro- chipping of elephants in Tamil Nadu has been taken up,” said Manoharan, a forest veterinary officer in the state.

Approximately 50 per cent of elephants have been embedded with the chip under this drive till now.

The microchip, which is of the size of a rice grain, has a 10-digit number inscribed on it and it is inserted behind the left ear of the elephant.

Home to 50,000 elephants a century ago, this population has dwindled to just 21,000 in India.

Conservationists say the elephant population has fallen rapidly in recent years because of human encroachment into forest areas.

The microchip embedded in the body of the animal will remain throughout the life of the animal and will not pose any health hazard.

“It is also a bio-compatible material which does not affect the animal at all, so there is no health hazard. Once inserted, the chip will remain embedded in the body of the elephant throughout its life time,” added Manoharan.

Elephants are deeply revered in India, with the elephant-headed god Ganesha being one of the most popular in the Hindu pantheon.

But despite their divine status, not all are lucky and hundreds continue to be ill-treated and overworked at illegal circuses and temples where they spend 9-10 hours ferrying tourists and locals and some are also killed by poachers for ivory. (ANI)

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