The Lords of the Grasslands, in Kaziranga National Park. The children’s stories of the ant and the elephant have always made me wonder what their true relationship is – the versions I heard pinned the elephant, proud and powerful, against the ant, timid but sharp, the tale ending with the ant stinging the elephant in a place it cannot reach – literally and allegorically. In most stories, the ant symbolised the underdog who triumphed over the elephant, rarely did they both work together or become friends. Long after, I started working on the concept of ants to elephants, and not merely because they rhyme. Through the tales and their scale, they represent most of the animals I grew up watching and admiring and studying, but in this case, it was simply connecting two organisms I am passionate about, insects and elephants. Come to think about it, plants to elephants encompass a much larger scope under this philosophy. On various occasions, I explored insects and elephants independently.
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Elephants and Chhattisgarh: An Ongoing History The elephant population assessment report of India is due for over a year, and it is likely only next year that we will see the numbers. Much has happened since the last update in 2017: About 1,160 elephant died in the 2010 decade mostly due to human-related causes (500 in the last five years alone since the last report) [ 1 , 2 ] – that’s 4% of the 2017 population of elephants, at 27,306 for the country. On the other side of this equation, 4,000 people died in the last decade (1,500 people in the last three years alone) due to human-elephant conflict [ 3 , 4 ], and an estimated 10,000 sq km of crop fields are damaged by wild elephants every year [ 5 ]. Overall, over 100 elephants and 400-500 people die every year, making human-elephant interaction an important issue to address. The delay in the assessment report, therefore, is a matter of concern. Much of wild elephant boundaries have been redefined – in Central India, from seven in t