Pledge on World Elephant Day: Let’s end Human-Animal Conflict

We must stop the animal-human conflict and be more mindful of other animals as humans.

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Insight Bureau:  Every year on August 12th, World Elephant Day is commemorated across the world to raise awareness about the suffering of captive Asian and African elephants. This day also raises awareness of the challenges they face and the steps that may be done to prevent the extinction of the gigantic species.

We must stop the animal-human conflict and be more mindful of other animals as humans.

On August 12, 2012, Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand, with the backing of Thailand’s Queen Sirikit, established World Elephant Day. World Elephant Day serves as a rallying point for organisations and individuals to raise awareness about the difficulties that elephants face. Since its establishment, the day has raised awareness about elephant abuse in captivity, poaching for the illicit ivory trade, and human-elephant conflict, all of which pose threats to elephants in Africa and Asia.

Then-Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu offered their support to the WED cause in the form of ‘Haathi Hamara Saathi’ to commemorate the day in 2020.

Today, not just politicians but the general public are commemorating the day and virtually uniting to express support for elephant conservation.

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Odisha was once considered to be the breeding place of elephants in the nation. But, things have changed now. In the last 11 years, 862 elephants perished in Odisha. 31 died in rail accidents, 6 in road mishap, 135 were electrocuted, 86 were poached, and 37 were poisoned. The rest were ordinary deaths.  At least 5 elephants have died in the state in the last 20 days, raising big concerns.

Dhenkanal, Deogarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Angul, Sundargarh, and Cuttack together had 2,044 elephants in 1979. In 2017, there were 1,976 elephants in the state.

In 2002, the district of Keonjhar had 112 elephants; by 2017, only 40 were alive.

On March 30, state Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha told the state Assembly that between 2010 and 2021, 843 wild elephants died in Odisha.

In 2018-19, 93 elephants were killed; in 2015-16, 86; in 2010-11, 83; in 2012-13 and 2019-20, 82; and in 2014-15, 54. As of March 22, at least 72 elephants had perished in the 2020-21 season.

More efforts should be taken to protect our Elephants, end the Man-Animal conflict and take strong action against poaching. That should be the pledge on World Elephant Day.

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