Seeking justice for setting baby and mother elephant on fire in Bankura, WB.
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The photograph is titled 'Hell is Here' by Biplap Hazra and rightly so, was shot in West Bengal's Bankura district in India.
This area has already reported large-scale man-animal conflicts in the past. In the picture we can see the enraged mob hurling tar bombs and crackers at the elephants to scare them away from a human settlement which is situated nearby. The heartbreaking image of the baby elephant crying out in pain, fleeing in confusion following his mother who is also burning has enraged everybody worldwide! This does not put India as a country in good light, specially not when we Indians boast about the successful conservation of big cats on an international platform.
This image itself shows us lack of education, lack of judgement and lack of compassion of the general masses. Why did it come down to a situation where the villagers had to take such extreme measures? Most importantly, this is not a rare occurrence of such a situation, this happens almost every other week when a wild animal comes into the villages and get chased around, some get hurt while some get lost.
As per CSS - Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats, some of these responsibilities dictate the conservation of wildlife habitats:
i Addressing man-animal conflict
ii Strengthening co-existence agenda
iii Deciding inviolate spaces and relocation of villages from crucial wildlife habitats
Is this a picture depicting co existence? What is the forest department doing about it? There are non lethal means to avoid such man-wildlife conflicts, educating the locals is the key.
Asian elephants have been declared endangered 40 years ago, since then there have been huge loss of elephants' habitat, poaching and hunting, today only 3000 of these majestic primitive animals are left in the wild yet we see an entire village turning against elephants, hurting them by setting them on fire!
The whole world is watching, so please take necessary actions against the individuals who took part in this barbaric act, punish them as per Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Also imploring you to take actions to address man-animal conflict, strengthening co-existence agenda, educate the masses, relocate them if that is necessary, do whatever it takes so that this is not repeated ever again.
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