'Gaj Mahotsav' to raise awareness for conservation of Asian elephant

Gaj Mahotsav to raise awareness for conservation of Asian elephant

New Delhi: On the occasion of World Elephant Day, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) and Wildlife Trust of India kicked off a four-day cultural festival, titled 'Gaj Mahotsav' in the national capital on Sunday, aiming to raise awareness on elephant conversation, and reinforce its status as our National Heritage Animal.

"The four-day 'Gaj Mahotsav' celebrations will continue till August 15, 2018. The celebrations will include sessions on policy, art exhibitions, film shows, music and entertainment. A special area has been earmarked on the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Arts lawns for the display and sale of elephant-themed products and produces from various NGOs that have been invited to showcase their work," a government statement mentioned.

Apart from 101 life-sized elephant art pieces representing as many elephant corridors of India by artists from across India, there will also be a photography exhibition, workshops, and talks by personalities. It will unite artists and celebrities on the same platform.

The elephant is being worshipped by many in India. The Hindu god of good luck, Lord Ganesha is also the elephant god. However, the state of this majestic animal is becoming deplorable due to man's conflict with the animal. Strongly emphasizing the need to address the root cause, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu pointed out that the man-animal conflict as an existential crisis not for the animals, but for human beings.

Addressing the 'World Elephant Day' at IGNCA, Prabhu said, " There is also an urgent need to focus on human population to optimize conservation efforts." Actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India Dia Mirza, who is also the WTI ambassador, has lent support to the cause.

"The objective behind celebrating the World Elephant Day in every year is to focus attention of various stakeholders to support various conservation policies to help elephants, including improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing some captive elephants into sanctuaries," MoEFCC statement mentioned further.

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