Silchar: In order to keep track of elephants and better monitoring of the pachyderms, Cachar Forest officials have started implanting microchips in them.

The three-day camp, which began at Sonai Forest office on Wednesday, was next held at Salchapra on Thursday and Sonai and Matinagar of Cachar district on Friday. The camp also consisted of health checkup for the elephants and verification of the owner.

As part of elephant management measures, the microchips are used to identify the elephants by assigning a unique identification number to each one of them. The microchip system has two components – the microchip and a reader, which is a device that can determine the unique code number of a microchip.

It is pertinent to note that there are almost no wild elephants in Cachar district. There are a total of 38 elephants under private ownership, of which 17 are male and 21 female.

“We are carrying the drive among the domesticated elephants. A small chip is inserted behind the right ear of the elephant to make identification easier. This also helps keep track of the health of the animals, and also provides a Unique Identification number to the elephants,” Cachar District Forest Officer Tejas Mariswami said.

The details of each elephant can be accessed by entering its unique identification number.

“With the help of the chips, we can trace them if and when they are let into the forest or sold to any person. Also, it allows us to keep track of whether any elephant is exploited by its owner,” Assam University Ecology department professor Dr. Parthankar Choudhury, who is also member of the expert team appointed to oversee the process, said.

The same process will also be taken up in two other districts of Barak Valley i.e. Karimganj and Hailakandi, Dr. Choudhury said.

He added that microchips are advantageous because presently there is only the Registration Certificate that can determine ownership of an elephant, and that document has insufficient details. Consequently, it is possible for illegally-captured wild elephants or illegally imported elephants, or for stolen elephants, to be issued a Registration Certificate. Implanting a microchip can prevent such fraudulent registration, he said. 

Also read: Assam: 5-day waterfowl census in Kaziranga national park underway

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