Written by- Abinash Sahu
Every year on the 12th of August, “World Elephant Day” is celebrated across the world. A day dedicated to the big trunk mammals, dedicated to create awareness for their safety and preservation. The first “World Elephant Day” was observed on August 12, 2012, and the recent one was barely four-five days back. Elephants are always been fascinating to me, since childhood. From noticing their pictures in school books to when elephants arrive in the streets of my city with its mahout sitting on its top and children’s used to take a ride of it or watching it in the zoo, it was always amazing seeing such a big animal with big trunk. The connection of Elephants with humans can be traced back from history, from elephants being used in warfare to circuses and zoos, the connection is established since ages.
But those days are gone when the term “Hathi mere Sathi” seems to be a real fact. Now-a-days the events of elephant deaths are now making to the headlines frequently. Some elephant’s death news are rather more shocking. Last year a piece of news that shook the nation was about an elephant who died in Kerala due to the bursting of crackers inside her mouth after she eat some eatable filled with crackers. This news was really disturbing as well as astonishing for many.If we dive deep into it and unearth the facts then we would come to a conclusion that Elephants faces numerous threats for their survival, also the events of elephant accidents are common in our country, elephant accidents with trains while crossing the lanes or with heavy vehicles while crossing the roads are jeopardizing them. The pace in cutting down of trees and jungles for different reasons has seriously hampered their habitat to a great extent. Reasons like Human-elephant conflict has been a key issue, with the rapid increase in human population and decrease in forest land due to the cutting down of woods, elephants are sometimes moving towards human settlements resulting in damaging houses, Crops, etc., sometimes the conflict between human and elephants leads to serious outcomes like causalities from both sides, with the deforestation, it’s becoming difficult for the elephants to survive, as they are losing their habitat, and it’s also becoming quite challenging for them to breed. Keeping all this at a place and if we highlight another important threat to their survival is poaching. Every year thousands of elephants are poached for their ivory tusks. Though ivory trading is banned internationally still elephants are vulnerable to poachers.
Apart from that news like elephants electrocuted while passing through paddy fields are really saddling and worrisome. Every year thousands of elephants are dying for many reasons. The elephant species are in danger, they are critically endangered and endangered in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN). The Time has come, and we need to be aware of the fact that we should protect these animals from the threats. Many reasons like rapid deforestation and loss of natural vegetation have triggered the dampening of the habitats of elephants and their livelihood are hampered, and one can imagine the plight and woes they are currently undergoing.Almost we all must have noticed the term “Save Elephants” anywhere on the internet, in magazines, and books, or in Newspapers. This term carries a key value in it, proclaiming that the time has arrived that humans should be concerning about the tuskers or the big trunk animals we called as elephants. Though many NGOs and other organizations are already working on this for years and have come with many fruitful results and their efforts are praise-worthy. Our government has too taken many steps to curb elephant poaching but still needs to be vigilant and work more on it, every individual should be aware and try to help them to get a better habitat for their living. Our Government has launched many programs and projects dedicated to the safety and conservation of elephants like “Project Elephant” etc., elephant reserves have been set up by the government, elephant rescue centers have also been set up were wounded and other rescued elephants are nursed and trained. We have heard about “Mammoths” who were once a living part of this world, but today they are extinct and only history tells about them. From this, we can learn a lesson and like every small step matters, we can also put our small efforts to protect and conserve them, the least we can do is to protect their Habitat, which will give them a life to live, to breed.
The Author is an Engineer turned Journalist and Alumnus of IIMC, Dhenkanal.
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