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Effort to highlight ecological significance of elephants

Effort to highlight ecological significance of elephants

Kolkata: A documentary series depicting the plight of Indian elephants is slated for release next year.

"I am producing a 26 part series on Indian elephants. The documentary will depict numerous concerns such as human and elephant conflicts, ecological significance of elephants and the need to protect them. The shooting is still going on," said Sangita Iyer, National Geographic explorer and founder of Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VFAES).

She reiterated that the film will showcase the conditions of elephants in West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala.

There are approximately 50,000 Asian elephants across world. India holds about 30,000 elephants and 50 percent of those elephants are found in Southern India.

While the largest threats to the Asian elephant are poaching and habitat loss, their tusks are worth a lot of money in the black market. In India, elephants are captured alive for domestic use. These elephants are used in temple. They don't stay at one temple. They are rented and shuffled from temple to temple during festivals.

"The documentary will depict how the elephants' wounds are hidden with black paint. In spite of several such evidence and repeated incidents of elephants running amok during festivals in India, banning such traditions have remained out of question. Unlike India, the Asian elephant is not provided a high degree of protection during their migration to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Burma.

The elephants are vulnerable to poaching for ivory and food, and capture for use as captive animals," said Iyer, recipient of Nari Shakti Puraskar (Woman Power Award).

It might be mentioned that India formally adopted the "World Elephant Day" to help conserve and protect elephants in the country in 2016.

However, 15 to 20 elephants die due to train accidents in the 168-km-long New Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar railway track every year. The accidents take place between 6 pm and 6 am.

Assam has the highest number of captive elephants. Of the 2,675 captive elephants in India, approximately 905 are in Assam.

Shaheryar Hossain

Shaheryar Hossain

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