Evaluating the Impact of Human Activities during the Maha– Kumbh 2010 Fair on Elephants in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve


  • RITESH JOSHI Conservation & Survey Division, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, 110 003, INDIA


Maha–Kumbh 2010, Asian elephant, impact, motor roads, Shivalik Elephant Reserve, Rajaji National Park


Drastic ecological changes in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve and the rapid rate of developmental and anthropogenic activities are expected to lead to a severe threat and unusual behavioural changes in elephants. This notion was assessed during the Maha–Kumbh 2010 (the greatest fair on earth), which had a wide impact on the elephant populations in the lesser Himalayan zone, north–west India. To evaluate the effects of tourist pressure, developmental and anthropogenic activities on the elephant populations, 87 surveys were performed in different wildlife corridors spread across the Rajaji National Park and Haridwar forest division and on the roads that dissect across this crucial elephant habitat, during January 2010 to April 2010. Ground surveys were used from September 2009 to January 2010 in different locations where developmental work was ongoing in Haridwar city and its adjoining areas to identify the potential impact of these developmental projects and human activities before the commencement of the event. Developmental projects accounted for highest impact on the elephants as this included renovation of roads and temporary constructions in between the protected habitats. Tourist influx into the shrines situated within this area has also hindered the frequent movement of elephants to a great extent. The vehicle traffic on the roads running between the elephant habitats has also restricted the frequent movement of the elephants to and from the River Ganges. Some unusual behavioural responses of elephants were observed, and these may cause extreme changes in their distribution and movements. In addition, encroachment into the protected areas by humans (tourists and locals) has caused erratic patterns in the seasonal movements of various animals, including elephants. Therefore, understanding how elephant populations react to such vast events is essential for addressing future challenges in elephant management and conservation.




How to Cite

JOSHI, R. 2013. Evaluating the Impact of Human Activities during the Maha– Kumbh 2010 Fair on Elephants in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve. Tropical Natural History. 13, 2 (Oct. 2013), 107–129.



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