Elephants with cub at Rajaji National Park
Elephant with cub at Rajaji National Park

Right from our childhood we have been seeing presence of elephants in one form or the other. Initially as a God elephant as Lord Ganesha. Then it was seen at every CIRCUS which use to move from one town to another. Then at the gates of a marriage function at a high end marriage function. In the State of Rajasthan it is used as a means of transport for reaching to the gates of a Fort. Then of course in South India these are the high lights of any function at any temple or Dussera at Mysore ….All these elephants used for domesticated use were caught from the wild. How they were separated from their herd and how they were disciplined to follow the command of the mahout is a sad story. They were treated badly as they were not given anything to eat and sometimes beaten up . The situation has not changed much even now when they are in captivity.

Elephants with cub at Rajaji National Park

You may be aware that elephants are known for intelligence, great memory , family behavior ,and emotions. In spite of all the good things they are being killed by the poachers mercilessly for their tusk , meat ,leather and other body parts .In the recent past one of the worlds largest elephant was killed for his iconic tusks by the poachers.

Elephant at Rajaji National Park

For the first time World elephant day was celebrated on 12th August 2012.This is to create awareness of the plight of the African and Asian Elephants . Secondly to find out positive solutions for care and management of captive and wild elephants.

The elephants are threatened by habitat loss , degradation and fragmentation and of course poaching too. In our country the study reveals that in spite of reported deaths of elephants from time to time by accidental deaths on the railway tracks, their number is increasing . This is probably on account of Project Elephant in 1992.

Elephant herd at Rajaji National Park

The basic objective being to protect elephants and to look into the basic issues of man made conflicts , welfare of captive elephants and most important being to provide corridors for their movement.

No doubt they are cultural ICON of our country . But most important is that they maintain the integrity of the forest and grassland habitat.

Let us join hands to protect them at any cost.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.