Rama Krishna Sangem
August 12 is observed as World Elephants Day. This day, all nature and wildlife lovers reflect and review the status of elephants on the planet. Interestingly, India is one of the 14-15 countries in the world where elephants are in their natural habitats – jungles. For the rest of the world, these rare and beautiful animals are found either in zoos or in movies.
India accounts for around 30,000 elephants – of the total 50,000 elephants in the world. So, imagine how lucky and special we are. Most of our elephants are in the South India – parts of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, while Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bengal and some northern states too account for them. Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972’s Schedule 1 recognizes elephant are National Heritage Animal.
But actual work to protect them began two decades later – from 1991-92 only. The Centre has declared as many as 33 elephant parks in these states, besides taking welfare measures to conserve them. There are also, according to an estimate, close to 2,000 elephants in captivity – means various temples and other heritage trusts keep them. The government has also laid down norms for such people and institutions – for captive elephants’ welfare.
Sadly, they are most targeted animals
Elephants in India are worshiped. They are treated as symbol of Lord Ganesha or Vinayaka. They are revered as court animals of kings and emperors. Still they are most targeted animals in jungles – by hunters and poachers. Due to their value for ivory, some traders hire poachers to kill elephants through various measures – poisoning to electrocution and gunning down.
We see many elephants die while crossing railways tracks, hit by trains, and vehicles on the highways that pass through their elephant parks. Elephants are intelligent and social. They live and move around in herds. Elephants are matriarchal – led by mother elephants. If they see their babies dying due to human acts, they try to take revenge too.
We love Cheetahs. We are importing them from abroad. But, our country is natural home for elephants. Indian or Asian India elephants are different from African elephants – with bigger ears and curly tusks. They are the surviving species of now extinct huge mammoths. Even Indian elephants with an average height of 2.5 meters are majestic and magnificent. Let us save and conserve them.
Good to see, Union Environment and Forests Minister Bhupender Yadav today wrote in some national media on the steps taken by the government to protect our elephants. We also wish our BRS Rajya Sabha MP Santosh too takes some initiatives to save our valuable elephants, through his Green India Challenge campaign. Santosh is also a member of parliamentary committee on environment, forests and climate change.
Good to see his tweet on Saturday, saying: “Rallying everyone this #WorldElephantDay to #ProtectOurJumbos! These gentle giants symbolize strength, honour & patience. Let’s pledge to break the chains, stop poaching & forest a kiner wold for them, their survival is our responsibility”.. #SaveTheElephants. Good message from the young MP!