24 Oct 2010

Elephant given national heritage status in India

1:08 pm on 24 October 2010

The government of India has declared the elephant to be a national heritage animal.

The BBC reports that India has about 26,000 elephants left in the wild.

But there is growing concern about the fact that their habitats are shrinking.

An elephant taskforce says that giving special status to the elephant will help protect it.

The government says designating it a national heritage animal also recognises the elephant's special place in Indian tradition and culture.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has said the elephant should be accorded the same importance as the tiger, when it comes to conservation measures.