Strongly emphasizing the need to address the root cause behind the man-animal conflict, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu pointed out that the man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not for the animals, but for human beings. Addressing a gathering to celebrate World Elephant Day today at Indira Gandhi Centre for National Arts in New Delhi,. Prabhu said that there is an urgent need to explain this existential crisis to the human population. He underlined the fact that protection of wilderness and forests is a must to protect any wildlife species.
The Minister stressed the urgent need to focus on human population to optimize conservation efforts. He also acknowledged the supreme sacrifice of Late Dr. Manikandan and his family on the occasion.
Director General of Forest and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Siddhanta Das, stated that elephants keep walking an eating for 18 hours in a day and defecate half-digested food, including grass, bamboo and leaves over a wide area, giving rise to another chain of events. He averred that if elephants are confined to one place, nature’s linkage is broken. In this context, Dr. Das pointed to the urgent need to protect the habitat and corridors of elephants.
Brand ambassador of Wildlife Trust of India, Ms. Dia Mirza said that the only way to involve more and more people in conservation efforts is to build a narrative of engagement. She expressed the hope that ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ will provide an opportunity to conservationists, policy-makers, people and particularly children, to come together to conserve and protect wildlife and elephants, in particular.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, along with Wildlife Trust of India, kicked off the celebrations of ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ today. The four-day ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ celebrations will continue till August 15, 2018. ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ celebrations will include sessions on policy, art exhibitions, film shows, music and entertainment. A special area has been earmarked on the IGNCA lawns for the display and sale of elephant-themed products and produce from various NGOs that have been invited to showcase their work. The 101 elephants displayed at IGNCA during Gaj Mahotsav symbolize the 101 elephant corridors that need to be protected.