Elephants Count: Creating a Database of North Kanara's Elephants

As a part of our ongoing work, we are aiming to create a database of individual elephants in the North Kanara landscape. From February 2010 to May 2014, we have been photographing elephants in the area for generating baseline information on elephant numbers and composition. From our collective photographs of last few years, we were able to identify 36 individual elephants from the area. Based on other opportunistic records, we expect the total elephant population to be around 55 to 60 in the area. Creating a database of elephants needs to be an ongoing exercise and should be carried out with consistent field methods. With this purpose, we arranged a one day workshop for the field staff of DATR to discuss the need for creating a database and the methods to be used for this exercise. The workshop was organized with the collaboration of Karnataka Forest Department and the Field Director Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve.


The elephant identification workshop was arranged on 5th May 2015 at Kulgi Nature Camp. The workshop was attended by the Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director (DATR), Mr. Srinivasalu, ACF Phansoli Mr. Balakrishanan. The Range forest officers of Gund, Kulgi, Virnoli and Anshi Range were present during the workshop. A large number of forest guards and watchers from DATR participated in the program. Mr. Balachandran Hegde, Conservation biologist and ex-honorary wildlife warden was present during the workshop. There were totally 55 participants in the workshop.


Overview of the Elephant Identification Workshop is presented to highlight important points discussed:

• Status of elephant population of North Kanara district

• Need to create a database of elephants 

• Key features of elephant demography 

• A quick and easy method to identify individual elephants

The field staff found the workshop useful and wanted to learn more about identification methods, therefore it was decided that a one-day field workshop will be arranged for the field staff at Phansoli elephant camp. DATR directorate and WRCS will work together on creating a database of the elephants in the area. We will compare photographs of elephants obtained from camera-trapping to identify recaptures of elephants already recorded in the database and identify new individuals. We thank DATR officers for supporting this workshop.

This project is being supported by Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, USFWS.