Monday, April 08, 2019

A young boy on elephant, Pobitara, Assam, India - Image ID: A965B8

A young boy on elephant, Pobitara, Assam, India

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Elephant runs amok, kills two mahouts in Kottayam | Manorama News

Two mahouts were killed by captive elephant which ran amok at Karukachal near kottayam on Thursday. The deceased have been identified as Gopinathan Nair and Kannan. The elephant was brought to load wooden logs from a residential compund at Champakkara.

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Monday, April 01, 2019

Young captive Asian elephants are dying due to the stress of being taken from their mothers to work in tourism

Asian elephant populations are under threat due to high death rates among calves that have been separated from their mothers to work, new research claims. Almost a third of Asian elephants are in captivity in countries like India, Myanmar and Thailand, mainly being used for tourism or labour. Scientists have concluded that population declines could be tackled if the health of baby elephants is prioritised. Elephants removed from the mother at a young age experience stress which may have a negative impact on survival, a new paper in The Royal Society Publishing said. The paper explains that mortality is highest in newborn elephants so addressing this process could make a difference in their survival rates. ‘Truly alarming’ decline The sustainability of captive elephant populations has relied on the stability of populations in the wild, with the latter now a protected species.

A joint research study between the University of Sheffield and the University of Turku, in Finland, working alongside The Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE), investigated how trends in elephant capture from the wild influenced birth, death and population growth in 3,500 working elephants over 54 years. Professor Virpi Lummaa from the University of Turku, called the results “truly alarming”. He said that as elephants take a long time to grow and reproduce, their population number is extremely vulnerable to disturbances. Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals, carrying their young for nearly two years before giving birth. Suggested changes Elephants are separated from their mothers and trained for work around the age of four, which is often a very stressful experience. The researchers suggested improving welfare standards during their training period, and identifying pregnant females earlier to improve their welfare, so that both the calf and mother’s lives were improved overall. John Jackson, PhD researcher from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences and lead author of the paper, said: “Our model suggests we may see declines in captive elephants for up to 50 years so we must now work to ensure that the captive population is sustainable. “With so many Asian elephants in captivity, we must safeguard both captive and wild elephant populations and the people living and working alongside them for the future of the species.” Optimism for the future His hope is that an improvement in the survival rates of young Asian elephants could lead to a growth in the overall population. “This shows we can really make a difference by improving welfare for these vulnerable individuals in captivity,” he added. With so many people being given the chance to visit captive elephants while on holiday, Mr Jackson reiterated that everyone has a part to play in safeguarding the welfare of these animals, as this could have a positive effect on the global population. UK and elephants Last year, new legislation banning the sale of ivory in the UK was passed in the Commons as part of a nationwide effort to protect elephants for future generations. The ban will cover ivory items of all ages – not just those produced after a certain date – and comes after more than 70,000 people responded to a government consultation. The Ivory Act received royal assent in December 2018, and the Government has committed to implementing it in late 2019. Among those to campaign for the ban is the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which has said ending the ivory trade is the only way to stop elephants from being killed.

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Uttarakhand’s ailing elephant with capped toe has experts, activists divided

The plight of a 55-year-old injured and aging elephant, seized by the state authorities from various private parties following a Nainital High Court order last year, has divided wildlife experts and activists on the relevance of providing extra care and attention to the suffering animal.

Veterinarians who treat the animal at the Ramnagar forest division say Lakshmi is under a lot of pain and distress, due to infection in one of her front toe nails, sustained after an injury. The pain has also made the animal aggressive in its behaviour towards mahouts and staff, say the doctors. The toe nail has been capped to avoid further infection.

Then on March 24, Lakshmi fell unconscious, requiring the staff to engage the service of a crane to get the elephant back to its feet.

Dushyant Kumar, veterinarian, Corbett Tiger Reserve, who is looking after Lakshmi said the animal might develop tumour. “There’s exposition of adipose tissue through nail cuticle. Exposition is a severe condition which may lead to tumor. Presently, it’s causing severe pain.”

Meanwhile, the divisional forest officer (DFO) wants the animal to be shifted to a private elephant care centre in Uttar Pradesh, but the idea may not feasible as the department does not have ownership rights over the animal.

“No one except me or my staff knows how much pain the elephant is going through,” said BP Singh, DFO, Ramnagar. “We do not have the requisite infrastructure to provide treatment to the animal. We have been consulting WII, IVRI, Pantnagar University, but the animal needs to be shifted to a place with high-end services for treatment,” Singh said.

“But we do not have ownership rights, we are keeping the elephant in our custody, temporarily as per the high court order,” Mounish Mullick, chief wildlife warden said.

The department spends close to Rs 8 lakh a month, on the seized elephants, by way of salaries for mahouts, security staff, and logistics.

Said Pradeep K Mallik, senior scientist, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun “The situation is beyond the expertise of veterinarians now,” said Mallik. “There is an immediate need to invite a dedicated team of experts.” Adding on he said that Uttarakhand forest department had been forthcoming in training vets, but this situation needs a team of dedicated experts.

Wildlife activists, however, remains divided on whether or not the animal should be provided special care.

“The elephant is old. We should stop worrying about it now,” said AJT Johnsingh, a wildlife ecologist and activist. “Had it been a young elephant of 20-25 years, then it would have been worth trying to save it. But, this one is already too old to save,” said Johnsingh.

However, Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist disagreed.

“The animals are where they should be and must be given the highest possible care by the Uttarakhand Forest Department. The amount spent on treatment and care of the elephants should be recovered from the accused persons from whom the elephants have been seized,” said Maulekhi. “Surprisingly, the DFO Ramnagar has not asked for any such amount from the accused till date,” she said.

K Ullas Karanth, director, Bangalore-based Centre for Wildlife Studies said, “The care provided to captive elephants in India by both government or private parties are poor. This practice of having captive elephants should be phased out,” he said.

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Stranded baby elephants rescued by Thai rangers

Bangkok, Mar 30 Six baby elephants separated from their parents and trapped in a muddy pit for days have been rescued by park rangers in rural Thailand, officials said Saturday.

Patrolling rangers chanced upon the struggling herd in a national park east of Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon, park superintendent Prawatsart Chantheap told AFP.

Once the rangers realised the calves, aged between one and four years old, could not climb out of the dirty watering hole, some left the forest to bring back digging tools while others stayed overnight to keep watch over the frightened creatures.

"Our team arrived with hoes (on Thursday morning)... and we began to dig around the rim (of the mud pit) to make it less steep," he said.

After three hours of digging to build a makeshift ramp, the mud-covered babies managed to stumble out of the pit one-by-one as the rangers cheered them on.

"Go, go, follow each other!" the rangers yelled in a video recorded by the national parks department. "Go, children, go!" Prawatsart said the rangers had observed a herd of 30 adult elephants nearby and believed the young calves must have been separated from them.

"We believe they were stuck there for at least two days because after they got out their legs were weak," he said.

Wild elephants are Thailand's national animal and live in the wild in parts of the country but their numbers have dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of over 100,000 in 1850.

Deforestation and habitat loss has brought them in closer contact with humans in recent decades, and they often clash with villagers and farmers.

Elephants are also poached or domesticated for entertainment and tourism. AMS AMS

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Tame' elephants begin attacking each other at famed Indian tourist site

A group of foreign and domestic tourists had a narrow escape at a famous site in north India yesterday (March 27), as the elephants they were riding started fighting each other.

At the famed Amer Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan state, CCTV footage shows the elephant "Number 44" can be seen pushing against elephant "Number 74" in front of the fort’s Suraj Pole gate.

The fight caused panic and mayhem at the fort. Fortunately, the tourists managed to get down from the animals without getting hurt. The mahouts in charge of the two female elephants were also terrified during the whole incident as well.

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Video Of Elephant Being Beaten Sparks Outrage On Social Media

Elephants are an integral part of Kerala’s culture. Keralites love to see elephants at their grandeur festivals. However, the treatment of the elephants in captivity can be appalling at times.

This heartbreaking video of mahouts mercilessly beating up an elephant from Thrissur, Kerala is going viral on social media.

The video sparked outrage from Twitter and resulted in prompt action

In the video, an elephant reportedly named Karnan is seen being beaten by mahouts using sticks.

Unable to handle the pain the elephant tied to a tree, is seen lying down after a while, but the whipping continues.

Twitteratis were quick to express their anger and anguish over the video.

After much outrage on social media ‘Voice for Asian Elephants Society’an Animal Rights NGO posted on Twitter that these mahouts have been fired after an ‘investigation’.

They further added that the elephant has been transferred to Palakkad district and Kerala Forest Department is currently looking after the elephant

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Kochi: Main accused in poaching case arrested

KOCHI: In a major breakthrough, Kolkata Thankachi alias Sindhu—one of
the accused in a poaching case registered at Thundathil forest range
office in 2015—was arrested on Tuesday in Kolkata.

Thankachi, who had been on the run for the past four years, was arrested
during a joint operation conducted by a team of Thundathil forest range
officers and Kolkata police. Earlier in March, Kolkata’s directorate of
revenue intelligence, had arrested her husband Sudheesh Chandra Babu
and daughter Amitha S C Babu from Kolkata on charges of smuggling
ivory products.

According to the officers, Thankachi was traced based on the information
gathered from her daughter and husband. She was produced before a court in Kolkata and granted bail. Thundathil forest range officer Sijo Samuel said the court asked her to appear before Kothamangalam court on April 26. “We received information that she will surrender in court on Thursday. This is yet to be confirmed,” he said.

Thankachi, a native of Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram, was one of the main accused in the case pertaining to poaching of 11 tuskers at Thundathil range in 2015. “Though all other accused were arrested, we had no clue about Thankachi, who organized ivory smuggling. Investigation found that she had strong links with the mafia that poach elephants and smuggle tusks to north
India. The recent arrest of her kin gave a lead and we located her. We are yet to recover ivory products from her. We hope to find more leads after securing her custody,” said Samuel.

Thankachi’s son Anish is also in custody He was nabbed from a five-star hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.

Officers said Anish procured the ivory and made idols secretly at various parts of Kerala before smuggling them to other states.

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2 elephants carrying tourists fight in Jaipur's Amer fort

JAIPUR: In a scary incident, two female elephants carrying foreign tourists
in Amer fort started fighting with each other, creating panic and
commotion in the fort area even as no one was hurt.

First, elephant number 44 pushed elephant number 74 in front of the Suraj
Pole gate of the fort.

As the two animals engaged themselves in the fight, the foreign and
domestic tourists riding on it had a scary moment but somehow they
managed to get down. Even the Mahout were out of their wits on how to
control the warring elephants.

When the situation seemed under control and one of the elephants entered the gate and reached near Jalebi chowk, it again created commotion there with the panic-stricken visitors to the fort running helter-skelter to get away from the area.

The other elephants standing there for giving ride to the tourists had to be taken to a corner to avoid confrontation with the female elephant.

Elephants carrying tourists to Amer fort fighting with each other is not new. But certainly, a tragic incident was averted on Wednesday.

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Elephant death due to 11KV High tension electric line in SIMILIPAL NATIONAL PARK.


A really shocking incident happened at Betnoti range under Similipal National Park of Mayurbhanj district, odisha. One adult elephant found dead due to high tension electric lines. The 11kv high tension electric line having 2 to 4m from the ground level. Elephants are moving on that way and one touched with 11kv line and result to death. To much negligence of the forest officials and also the energy department.

Even Both, Forest and Energy department Govt of Odisha is trying to supress the voice of more than lakhs of tribal villagers who are suffering and deprived of electricity for last 10 years for elephants corider which were at low height from the ground level. Still the shameful incident come to noticed regularly.

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Ivory trade kingpin held from Bengal

Forest enforcers of Kerala net elusive ‘Calcutta Thankachi’

A four-member undercover team of forest enforcers from Kerala have arrested from West Bengal an elusive middle-aged woman suspected to be the kingpin of an international ivory racket.

Senior officers identified the accused as Sindhu, a resident of Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram, who goes by the moniker ‘Calcutta Thankachi.’

Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala, Surendra Kumar authorised the operation, which also led to the simultaneous arrest of her son Ajeesh from a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.

On March 12, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had arrested her husband Sudheesh Chandra Babu and their daughter Amita on the charge of ivory smuggling.

The provenance of the charges against ‘Thankachi’ stems from the slaughter of wild elephants in Malayattoor, Vazhachal and Munnar forest divisions in the year 2014-15.

The shocking slaughter of at least 18 tuskers for their ivory came to light when one of the gang members, a forest watcher who moonlighted as a guide for the poachers, felt a ‘conscience prick.’

K. D. Kunjumon's confession on May 21, 2015, to officers at Athirapally forest range had prompted forest enforcers T. Uma and her husband Kamalahar among others to launch ‘Operation Shikkar,’ a watershed in wildlife crime investigation that resulted in the seizure of 464 kg of ivory and arrest of 73 persons.

Sweeping probe

The sweeping probe that unfolded fast across the country revealed how poachers shot elephants dead on order, hacked the tusks from their head using camp axes and delivered the ivory to Thiruvananthapuram-based middle-men who had contracted artisans to fashion them into artefacts for wealthy collectors.

Enforcers said that ‘Thankachi’ shifted base from Thiruvananthapuram to WB and hired scores of traditional artisans from Thiruvananthapuram to carve ivory and accommodated them in safe houses there.

Investigators said they were tracking her Mumbai-based associate, who goes by the name ‘Pi Mundi’ and both were responsible for the resurgence of the ivory trade in India.

They have sought her custody for further questioning, sources said.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Odisha Current News : Couple trampled to death by elephant in Dhenkanal

Kamakhyanagar/ Bhubaneswar , 26/3/2019 ( Odisha Samachar / Abhishek Mohanty )- : A couple was trampled to death by an elephant near Dudhakateni village under Sadar forest range in Dhenkanal district on Tuesday.

The deceased have been identified as Dambaru Pradhan and his wife Sukanti of Nuachaulia village in the district.

An elephant attacked the two while they were returning home on a bike after witnessing Dola Jatra when the incident took place.

Sukanti died on the spot. However, Sambaru succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Killing of wild elephants: Two more arrested

Palakkad: Two more persons were arrested by Pandikkad police under the Arms Act in connection with the suspected killing of two wild elephants — a tusker and a cow elephant — at Karivarakundu near the Puchipara forest outpost on February 25.

The arrested are Sundaran (48) of Nambinakath, Ariyakundru in Alanallur, who had allegedly manufactured the country-made gun, and Kuliyodan Assin (48) of Mampad, who supplied the cartridge allegedly used to kill the wild elephants, said Pandikkad circle inspector R Ashokan.

Two persons — Jabeer (35) of Udavampatta, Karuvarakundu, and Biju Mon (26) of Pattarumbu Colony, Nilambur, were earlier arrested in connection with the case.

Silent Valley National Park officials said that since the cases under Arms Act were handled by the police, they had written to the police to investigate the use of gun in the killing of the elephants. “Forest department will also try to get the arrested person for interrogation to pursue the case,” said an official.

“Examination of the carcasses found no trace of bullet or metal substances. But both the tusks of the tusker were found removed. The tusks, with a diameter of 11cm, were removed by burning, and the skin samples were sent for laboratory examination. The small tusks of the cow elephant were not missing. The cow elephant might have died of injuries after falling from a hill top,” said Mannarkkad veterinary officer Dr Shaji Panikkassery, who headed the team that had conducted the postmortem examination.

The carcasses were found near a banana plantation just 300m from the forests.

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Mahout seriously injured in alleged elephant attack

Idukki: A mahout was seriously injured after he was allegedly attacked by an elephant at a safari centre at Attappallam near Kumily in Idukki on Saturday evening.

The injured has been identified as Rajiv of Thopramkudy. Soon after the attack he was rushed to the Medical College Hospital,Kottayam.

According to police sources, the owner of the elephant safari centre informed them that the mahout was injured in a road accident. “But our primary inquiry revealed that the mahout was injured in an elephant attack,” said a police source.

It was on January 14, 2017, that Bhaskaran (55), a native of Karnataka, was trampled to death by an elephant in the same elephant safari centre at Attappallam.

M N Jayachandran, member, Kerala state animal welfare board, said, “I have submitted a complaint to Idukki district collector and the chief wildlife warden, seeking immediate probe in to the issue. Many of these elephant ride centres are illegal. Many centres are not registered and do not have licence. These illegal centres are posing threat to the lives of both tourists and mahouts”.

“On March 13 I had submitted a complaint to Idukki district collector and chief wild life warden to mandate Animal Welfare Board of India registration for elephant ride centres. But I didn’t get any reply from the officials, added Jayachandran.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Elephant damages village huts in Jamuria, India

An elephant in musth is not a safe proposition as a neighbour.

He comes in from the forest, walks around the village, helping himself to banana trees, pots of water (spraying himself as he goes along) and generally pokes his nose into every village home helping himself to anything that smells good. A street dog comes to investigate but decides to opt for caution and runs backwards.

This footage is part of the professionally-shot broadcast stock footage archive of Wilderness Films India Ltd., the largest collection of HD imagery from South Asia. The Wilderness Films India collection comprises of 50, 000+ hours of high quality broadcast imagery, mostly shot on HDCAM / SR 1080i High Definition, Alexa, SR, XDCAM and 4K. Write to us for licensing this footage on a broadcast format, for use in your production! We are happy to be commissioned to film for you or else provide you with broadcast crewing and production solutions across South Asia. We pride ourselves in bringing the best of India and South Asia to the world...

Please subscribe to our channel wildfilmsindia on Youtube for a steady stream of videos from across India. Also, visit and enjoy your journey across India at , India's first video-based social networking experience!

Reach us at rupindang @ gmail . com and

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Kerala: Selfie with elephant goes wrong in Alappuzha temple, man critically injured

A man was severely injured while taking a selfie with an elephant in Kerala temple. The incident was captured on a camera, where the elephant is seen swaying away the man.

Thiruvananthapuram: In a case reported from Alappuzha, Kerala, a man was severely injured while taking a selfie with an elephant. The incident was captured on a camera, where the elephant is seen swaying away the man while he tries to little close.

Mirror Now reported, the incident happened in an Alapuzha temple, where the elephants are trained and kept in an isolated space along with the mahawat- caretaker. In the video, the elephants are being trained and chained to trees which is a routine for the elephants and they do not allow anyone except the mahawat to come near them.

Meanwhile, the man while taking selfie was trying to move closer to the elephant for a better shot and immediately the elephant swayed him away. The mahawat tried to bring down the situation in the area. And the victim was immediately rushed to the local hospital where he is undergoing treatment.

The area where the man was taking a selfie was barred for entry.

India ranks on the top when it comes to selfie-related deaths and in a similar case reported from Maharashtra's Mahabaleshwar, where a tourist youth accidentally plunged into a valley while trying to capture a ‘perfect selfie’ at the famous Lodwick Point.

While clicking a selfie which turned out to be fatal, Vinod collapsed into the 100-feet deep valley. A rescue operation was initiated he was found stuck in the woods about 100 ft down the hill. He was alive when the team got to him but had sustained serious injuries. But he succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment.

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Man killed when elephant sits on him: ‘Carer’ crushed as he beat animal to make it lie down

This is the shocking moment an animal carer was accidentally crushed to death by an elephant after he whipped it so hard he lost his balance and fell underneath it.

Video footage shows Arun Panikkar, 40, washing the elephant in his care in Karappuzha in Kottayam district of Kerala in southern India.

He is seen trying to make the elephant lie down in order to clean its back, but the animal is reluctant.

Mr Panikkar hits it with a stick, but as he does so, he slips and falls, just as the animal sits down.

The CCTV footage shows the elephant crushing Mr Panikkar underneath him.

Another man who is off-camera is seen rushing into view and attempts to move the huge elephant, without luck.

Eventually he uses a huge stick to persuade the animal to stand up, and is then seen pulling the elephant carer from underneath its body.

But by this time it was too late, and the later examination confirmed Mr Panikkar had been killed instantly.

An investigation is being carried out into the tragedy involving the elephant, which was reportedly owned by a local hospital trust.

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Baby elephant rescued from open drain in south India


A dramatic footage of an elephant calf being rescued form an open drain in southern India has emerged. The incident took place on March 24 near Anthiyur town, located in Erode district of Tamil Nadu state.

According to visuals, a few people were seen moving towards an open drain after spotting an adult elephant standing near it. As they move closed, footage showed a baby jumbo moving inside the drain. The jumbo sent out several distress signal as it trumpeted loudly. Seeing the distressed calf, one man jumped inside the drain, which scared the young pachyderm. It kept running to and fro inside the drain, but could not scale the high walls.

Finally, several men went inside the drain and trapped the pachyderm. They slowly lifted the elephant, while one man took care of its trunk. The elephant was rolled over and quickly stood on its feet.

Chaos descended there after, as the calf started running after its rescuers, who ran helter skelter.

Reports said the young elephant was reunited with its mother and no untoward incident took place.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Indian elephant gently pushes down barrier that was in its path at a crossing in southern India

It is well established that elephants are clever creatures.

And this was proven by an Indian elephant bull as he skillfully crushes a check post that stands in his way.

The incredible footage from Tamil Nadu, southern India, shows the enormous elephant approach a checkpoint crossing – with a barrier blocking its path.

Adult males have a tendency to use brute force in situations like this to overcome an obstacle and can be dangerous.

But this artful animal has the presence of mind to bend the barricade with his powerful tusks.

He slowly pushes it down at the middle until it is low enough for him to trample on.

Using his left leg to flatten the checkered pole, the elephant completes the task using his body weight.

The mammals are said to be aware of their enormity and often use it to their advantage by uprooting trees.

But this pachyderm opted for a gentle approach to find his way.

Once the bar reaches a comfortable height, he then crossed over, with his left hind leg used to keep the bar down.

The CCTV footage taken at night is believed to be from Gudalur municipality in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, where elephants and humans often come into contact.

In recent weeks, Tamil Nadu has had reports of elephants coming out forests and attacking people.

But a backlash came after a wild elephant called Chinna Thambi was captured, with some saying it is a human-friendly elephant.

Protesters have set up a fan club for Chinna Thambi – meaning Little Brother – called Chinna Thambi Fans Association.

Plans for him to be trained as a kumki – tamed elephant used to capture wild elephants and for wildlife safari – were made by state Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan, Indian Express reported.

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Supreme Court considering report on elephant corridors

The Supreme Court is considering a report led by its
to direct States through which elephant corridors run to submit voluntary relocation/ rehabilitation plans for people who live in these eco-sensitive zones.
A.D.N. Rao has submitted that in case this option is not feasible, the States should take steps
to “acquire and secure” these zones by using funds, including the Compensatory Aorestation Fund.
The States in question include Uttarakhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Kerala,
Arunachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu which has already notied the corridor for elephants in
the Nilgiris in August 2010. These are States which have signicant elephant population
amicus curiae Amicus curiae
and need unhindered passage for their movement. In Tamil Nadu, a report submitted by the
Nilgiris Collector in the apex court in August 2018 revealed that 821 buildings, constructions,
occupancies had encroached on the notied corridor.
Linking habitats
Many included the houses of auent persons. They have been demolished. All except one
building out of 39 resorts within the corridor were found to be illegal and closed down. The
amicus was responding to petitions led by advocate Elephant G. Rajendran and activists urging the court to intervene and direct the States to acquire the critical elephant corridors to ensure safe passage for the pachyderms.
A report by the Ministry of Environment and Forests titled ‘Gajah – Securing the Future for
Elephants in India’ in 2010 said long-term conservation of elephants could be done only by
linking their fragmented habitats.
The has asked the court to order the States concerned to submit proposals to the MoEF so that
critical corridors could be notied as eco-sensitive zones. Mr. Rao recommended the court to
direct the States to include the management of the corridors in the Working Plan of the Territorial Forest Divisions or in the Management Plans of the Protected Areas and Tiger Reserves.

Finally, the asked the court to direct the States and the Centre to ensure that activities in the
corridors be rst referred to the Forest Advisory Committee and Standing Committee of the
National Board for Wildlife for approval.
amicus amicus

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Wildlife tourism may negatively affect elephant behaviour

London, Mar 22 Increasing numbers of tourists may be a stressor for free-ranging elephants, and may have potentially negative effects on animal welfare, a study has found.

People are increasingly interested in observing wildlife such as African elephants, but the study published in the Journal of Zoology study shows that wildlife tourism may have negative effects.

"Tourists who wish to observe animals in their natural habitat should be aware of their potential negative effects on animal welfare and research should investigate best practise standards to minimise such negative effects," said lead author Isabelle Szott, of Liverpool John Moores University, in the UK.

Over the course of 15 months, researchers recorded the behaviour of elephants in relation to the overall number of tourists in an African reserve.

Elephants were more likely to perform aggressive behaviour towards other elephants when the number of tourists in the reserve was high.

Also, elephant herds were more likely to move away from tourists when multiple vehicles were present. MHN AMS AMS

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Elephant calf found dead in Erode forest

ERODE: A two-year-old male elephant calf was found dead in Bhavanisagar forest division here on Wednesday evening. Forest officials suspect the calf might have been died of some ailment. “We are waiting for autopsy report to ascertain the cause of the animal’s death,” a forest officer said.

Earlier, the carcass of the calf was spotted by Kothamangalam villagers, who immediately alerted forest officials. Following this, a team of veterinary doctors, along with foresters, reached the spot and conducted autopsy. Preliminary investigation revealed that the calf hadn’t taken any food for four days due to ailment. After the postmortem, the carcass was buried inside the reserve forest. Foresters have collected samples of dung, liver, spleen and other vital organs of the calf for detailed
examination at the veterinary lab in Chennai.

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Not a Tragedy: CSMT Bridge Collapse in Mumbai and Systemic Violence of Class Power in Indian Urban Transport Policies

Six people died after a section of an important foot over bridge near the main city railway station in Mumbai collapsed during the evening rush hour on March 14. Photographs after the collapse show gaping holes of the steel skeleton of the bridge against a dark sky, without concrete slabs on which people walked. Two of the nurses who died were going for their night shift in a nearby hospital, others would have been rushing home after a busy day. Concrete slabs of the bridge, which supported them above the road below, would have been the last thing on their mind. Yet, as these slabs crumbled under their very feet, and they fell on the road below, the very content of their humanity, their concerns and hopes, were overwhelmed by horror and cries. Falling people died, just like that.

Unanticipated deaths, euphemistically called accidents, are not uncommon to Mumbai’s transport infrastructure. Twenty three people had died in September 2017 on a bridge at Elphinstone railway station. Pedestrian bridges have collapsed in Andheri and Mahad. And then there are every-day deaths, which happen so routinely that even media does not care to report them. Approximately nine humans are killed every day in the Mumbai suburban railway system. Two thirds of them die while trying to cross railway tracks. Rest die falling from overcrowded coaches, or hitting electricity poles.

These deaths may be unanticipated, but reasons for them, like the quality of crumbling concrete slabs at the CMST bridge, are fairly well known. Reportedly, there are 89 foot over bridges for 136 suburban railway stations in the Mumbai suburban railway system. Most bridges were made four decades ago, when the number of people using the railway system was half its current number. Trip frequency and number of coaches have reached system’s limits, yet coaches are overcrowded because no additional tracks have been laid for decades. Crowded coaches are suffocating because their design has not changed for nearly fifty years. In fact, calling these deaths accidental is a collective trick we play on ourselves. It is within the technical and financial resources of the city to prevent, or at least minimise, these deaths. However, preventing them is not among the priorities of city administrators. Their plans and resources are focused elsewhere.

Also Read: Collapsed Mumbai Bridge Was Declared ‘Safe’ With Need For ‘Minor Repairs’

Urban Transport in the Neoliberal Era

Urban transport infrastructure in India is currently moving in two directions. One is the provision of flyovers, elevated road corridors, and freeways for private motorised transport. The other is the push for Metro, as the public transport of choice. Simultaneously, public buses, and suburban railways, which remain the cheapest means of urban transport, and on which overwhelming majority of the people of a city like Mumbai rely, are on starvation diet. The Mumbai suburban railway system provides close to eight million passenger-trips every day, making it the most heavily used urban transport system in India, and comparable to some of the largest systems in the world. BEST buses transport 45% of the city’s road users. Yet, both these systems have seen little new investments. The Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III), proposed in 2010 for the expansion of suburban railways, is still in pipeline. More immediately needed solutions like creation of extra spaces in stations for passenger mobility, and redesigned coaches for better air circulation and faster entry and exit, are absent in any plans.

The BEST bus fleet has been made to suffer losses ever since the Supreme court in 2016 disallowed cross-subsidy from electricity supply earnings, and the municipal corporation refused to subsidise its operations. The size of the fleet, 4,200 in 2010, had declined to 3,300 in 2015. According to the citizens’ collective Amchi Mumbai Amchi Best, 18% of routes have been scrapped. The result is that the number of passenger trips, which were 42 lakhs in 2010, came down to 30 lakhs in 2018.

While existing cheaper public transport facilities bleed, the urban-scape of Indian cities is being remodelled for faster private travel over flyovers, elevated corridors, and expensive roadways on sea and coast. At Rs 100 crore per kilometre, elevated corridors are among the costliest urban infrastructure projects, next only to tunnels for Metro which cost Rs 300 crore per km. Mumbai has spent Rs 1600 crore on the Eastern Freeway. The same amount was spent on the 6 km Bandra Worli Sea Link. Around Rs 12,000 crore is going to be spent on the Western Coast expressway. Similar developments have taken place in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai, and are on their way in mid-tier cities. All are meant for the fast transit of four wheeled private vehicles.

Also Read: Transport Workers’ Strike: Public Transports Keep Off Roads Across The Country

In a way, a private four-wheeler is an epitome of privatised bourgeois life in public. With windows rolled up, and climate control and entertainment system on, passengers are isolated from the public life outside. It is a private cocoon on transit. Yet, it cannot go anywhere in the absence of publicly provided road space. This mirrors the rule of private property, whose fruits cannot be enjoyed, unless an entire state machinery, including its means of violence, and a conducive public sphere has been created. A bus carries fifty times more passengers on average than a car, yet occupies only three times more road surface. Thus, a good 17 times more road space is used for the transit of a car passenger, than a poorer city dweller. Also, since cars do not carry their own parking spaces, they occupy publicly provided parking spaces when not in transit. The domination of their interest over urban transport public policy is a manifestation of the rule of the propertied Indian over majority of urban dwellers.

Neo-liberalism naturalises the remodelling of urban transport through its fundamental policy prescription of privatisation of public resources. Building flyovers, elevated corridors, and freeways are one shot affairs of public spending. All of these are built by private contractors. Once built, their maintenance can also be contracted out. On the other hand, urban public transport resists privatisation, particularly if it is to remain accessible to urban working poor. Everywhere it is a state managed and supported service, requiring the state to be directly and continually involved in providing an essential service. The latter is anathema to neo-liberal fundamentalists.

Even though the majority of city dwellers in India are never going to own a car, neo-liberal reshaping of urban transport gains acceptability due to successes of ‘aspirational’ consumerism. Reflecting visions of this consumerism, the Detailed Project Reports (DPR) of all road projects assume an increasing rate of car ownership. However, urban planner Hussain Indorewala shows how the realisation of this aspirational utopia is actually going to be a dystopia. Based on car ownership rates assumed in the DPR of Mumbai West Coast expressway, he shows that if these were to materialise, just by being on road, these cars will take the entire road space planned in its latest city development plan. The effects of such bumper to bumper traffic are already visible on existing expressways.

According to Mumbai Environmental Social Network, the vehicular flow in the Western Expressway during peak hour traffic has decreased by 25% in six years due to congestion. On the other hand, toll roads favoured by the ‘user pay fee’ model remain underutilised. The eight lane Bandra-Worli Sea Link designed for 1,20,000 vehicles crossings per day sees only 37000 crossings. Its toll revenues, between Rs 70-80 crore per year, are less than 30% of projected earnings, and are insufficient to cover even interest on the Rs 1,600 crore spent on it. Similar under-utilisation and insufficient toll realisation exist on the NOIDA Agra Expressway near Delhi, whose owner Jaypee Infratech is facing bankruptcy proceedings. Aspirational Indians may be ready to own private vehicles, but even modest highway tolls pinch their pocket. Fancy infrastructural projects are becoming white elephants; good as tourist attractions, but not integrated into the economics of urban mobility.

Metro in India: Another White Elephant in the Making

The country’s most successful Delhi Metro got a rare distinction in the past few years. The ridership in January and February 2018 was respectively 14 and 17 % less than two years ago in 2016. This must be one of the very few examples in the history of urban mass transit that ridership of a functional and expanding system of a burgeoning city has dropped. The reason is two steep fare hikes. A five km journey now costs Rs 30/, at a whopping Rs 6/ per km. A return journey above 32 km eats up to 25% of the daily earnings of a person making the legal minimum wage. Most workers in the informal sector of the economy earn much less. Hence, it is not surprising that most working people use Metro only rarely, and it mainly caters to the city’s middle classes.

The only operational Line 1 of Mumbai Metro has incurred heavy losses. At the end of year 2017-18, its liabilities exceeded its assets by Rs 977 crore. According to anecdotal evidence, the recently inaugurated Lucknow Metro is considered good by locals only for a joyride. Existing share autos, called Vikrams in city lingo, remain the preferred mode of transport as these are cheap and readily available, despite being unsafe and overcrowded.

With eleven functioning systems, five under construction and seven under various stages of approval, Metro train system in India appears to have come of age. Politically, it is the most viable symbol of urban development, which ticks all correct boxes of high and sleek technology, public amenity, and environmental protection. However, the Achilles heel of Metro systems in India is that at two to three rupees per kilometre per passenger operational cost even for a large system like Delhi’s, it is too expensive for ordinary city dwellers. Hence, even for large cities like Delhi or Mumbai, it is unlikely to achieve economies of scale achieved in places like Tokyo, Beijing, London or Shanghai. It is necessary to subsidise Metro fares till wages rise sufficiently so that it is within the reach of an average city dweller. For this,it is essential that public funds be focused on larger systems which are likely to become viable in near future, rather than spread thinly to take more and more cities on the Metro bandwagon. Here again, the class roots of neo-liberal fundamentalism block a rational approach. Public spending on even unviable new projects infuses private capital via contractors. Subsidy for fares serves no such purpose of capital.

Also See: Delhi Metro Hikes Fares Again

Many Indian cities have functional low cost means of transport. The challenge is to improve them for increasing needs and greater reliability and comfort. Metro systems circumvent this challenge by superposing an entirely different system which does not address any of the needs of the existing low-cost systems. In fact, the ideal solution would be a synergy between Metro and these already existing systems. None of the Metro plans address this issue. Mumbai suburban railway system is a unique example where sixty-year old rolling stock technology has been adapted and perfected to run a system at extremely low cost, with practically zero accident rate and near hundred per cent punctuality. These are the classic railway systems achievements, and Indian railways professionals deserve full credit for this.

This barebones system, however, has failed miserably in developing suitable coaches and fast and safe passenger mobility facilities in stations for the punctuated high densities of urban transport. The same is true for bus systems in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. Buses are ideal for urban transport as they can serve nooks and crannies not accessible by train. Many large cities in the world have expanded their bus fleets and kept them up to date with the latest technology. Road space usage has been rationalised through BRT corridors, and by restricting entry of private vehicles in certain areas. Indian cities have failed miserably in this regard. Worse, functional systems like BEST in Mumbai are being bled, starved and forced to die.

Class power of the rich force societies along selected alternatives. People falling off overcrowded trains and crumbling bridges, and dying in stampedes is an aspect of policy decisions made to orient urban transport infrastructure for private automobiles. Instead of devising viable solutions to solve emerging problems of public transport in cities, Indian rulers have embarked upon a path that serves the interests only of a tiny minority, and is pushing cities towards dystopia of congested roads and white elephants of little-used toll highways and Metro systems.

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Duo caught with elephant tusks gets bail

VASCO: The Margao judicial magistrate first class on Thursday granted bail to the two Margao-based accused arrested in connection with hunting and for allegedly being in possession of two elephant tusks, valued at Rs 20 lakh. The accused,

Shrikant Kanekar, 42 and Vignesh Karapurkar, 29, were arrested on Tuesday night by the Verna police after they were intercepted at the CIPLA circle in Verna and two elephant tusks were found in their car.

PI Sandesh Chodankar said, “They have been granted bail on condition that they report to the Verna police station for 10 days.”

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Two held for smuggling elephant tusks | Goa News

VASCO: Verna police on Tuesday night arrested two Margao-based men for smuggling two elephant tusks.

Police said the two tusks weighed 13.3kg and are worth Rs 20 lakh in the international market.

Speaking to TOI, PI Sandesh Chodankar said, “We received information that the tusks were likely to be smuggled to Verna. Verna police managed to nab them and they have been arrested.”

At around 8.50pm on Tuesday, Verna police detained two men, Shrikant Kanekar, 42, of Davorlim, and Vignesh Karapurkar, 29, of Aquem.

Chodankar said the duo were sitting in a car at a junction at Verna. They were waiting for another party to hand over the tusks. When asked about where the accused procured the tusks from and to whom they were delivering, police said that they are investigating the details. The vehicle was attached and the tusks will be sent to Dehradun for an expert’s report. A case was has been registered under Sections 9, 39, 40, 42 read with 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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Owner of jumbo ‘Gulabi’ arrested

Three days after Gulabi, 59-year-old captive elephant from Srirangam,
died on the way back from Pollachi, its owner N Baskar has been arrested
for gross negligence in maintaining the elephant leading to its death.

Baskar, who owns three more elephants, has been charged with violating
provisions of Tamil Nadu captive elephants (management and
maintenance) rules, 2011. He was also booked under various penalty
clauses under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

He was produced in the district court on Wednesday, where he was
denied bail and remanded in judicial custody at the Trichy central prison
for 15 days. Gulabi was not keeping well for the last few weeks, while

Baskar transported it all the way to Pollachi for Gaja pooja as part of a marriage function for monetary gain.

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Overworked Elephant Slowly Dies By Roadside

This footage shows an ailing elephant dying by the roadside after it was forced to stand through a full wedding despite having fainted and was then packed into a stuffy lorry for a six-hour journey to another function.

The incident took place when the female captive elephant fell ill while being transported to the city of Tiruchirappalli in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the back of a lorry.

The owner, N. Baskar, had accepted two bookings for Gulabi the elephant for that day, and had just finished a wedding in Pollachi when they were returning to Tiruchirappalli for another function.

However, the 59-year-old elephant collapsed and slowly died on the roadside.

Meanwhile, Baskar has been accused of ignoring the animal’s ailing condition and showing disregard for its age and capabilities.

A senior forest department official also said that Baskar ignored their warnings not to take the elephant on such a long trip.

The spokesperson added that the elephant had previously fainted on its way to the wedding in Pollachi, saying: “For an elephant of this age, rest is mandatory, but it was made to travel in [a] truck to Pollachi for about six hours.

“Unable to bear the heat, Gulabi fainted in the truck despite being administered intravenous fluids.

“After facing all this, the elephant was made to stand until the wedding concluded.”

According to local media, Baskar obtained the required paperwork from the authorities in Chennai, but failed to inform forest officials in Pollachi or Tiruchirappalli before transporting the elephant.

Meanwhile, local activists have called for the elephant owner to be punished for cruelly overworking the ageing animal.

It is unclear whether the police are investigating the claims.

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Ranbir Kapoor feels Amitabh Bachchan is being 'extra sweet' to him as the megastar treats him like a family

Ranbir Kapoor will be sharing screen space with megastar Amitabh Bachchan in Ayan Mukerji's 'Brahmastra'. And Big B has been all praises for Ranbir for his acting skills and work, he has always showered Jr RK with a lot of compliments.

Read Also:

This is what Amitabh Bachchan has to say about his ‘Brahmastra’ co-star, Ranbir Kapoor

Recently, during a media interaction at an event, Ranbir was asked about Sr Bachchan's words for him. The actor replied that Ranbir said that he feels is being extra sweet to him as the megastar treats him like a family. Ranbir also added that he cannot get any bigger compliment than Amitabh Bachchan's words.

Meanwhile, 'Brahmastra' stars Alia Bhatt as the female lead and is part of a trilogy. Apart from Amitabh, Ranbir and Alia, the film's cast include Akkineni Nagarjuna, Mouni Roy and Dimple Kapadia. Backed by Karan Johar, the film is all set to hit the screens on December 20, 2019.

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A jumbo-special Holi! Vidyut Jammwal bonds and makes a splash with elephants in Jaipur

'Junglee' star Vidyut Jammwal celebrated Holi by bonding with elephants and being endlessly sprayed with pond water by them. He tells us why, despite having the best time of his life during the film’s shoot, he was always respectful.

For elephants, a rollick in the water is just a regular day. But for most of us who don’t live in #waterbaby-style Instagrammable locations, Holi presents the perfect opportunity. So when Vidyut Jammwal found out about Jaipur’s Haathi Gaon, a safe stomping ground for pachyderms, he knew that’s where he was celebrating Holi this year. The star of the upcoming film 'Junglee' spent his day bonding with the elephants, lovingly applying a touch of gulal to their foreheads, wading into ponds on elephant-back and being sprayed endlessly by his bearer with pond water. But Vidyut didn’t mind; it was a warm day and the elephants wanted to keep their backs cool, he just happened to be in the way.

That’s exactly what he learnt during the shoot of 'Junglee' – the elephants decide, not the humans. “Whenever I was with the elephants, I had to be feeling a hundred percent. Like earlier, when I tried to get on top of one of these elephants, I knew she didn’t want me up. So I was aware and I knew she’d topple me down, which she did. I just landed on my feet because I was careful. On 'Junglee’s set too, every time I was with the elephants I was having a lot of fun. But if I didn’t feel it from them, I didn’t go there. They’re as moody as human beings,” Vidyut tells us.

'GATHER AROUND, CHILDREN’: Lakshmi, Gomti, Shakuntala, Muskan and Tara graciously spent their day with Vidyut and schoolkids at Jaipur’s Haathi Gaon. The kids, of course, couldn’t take their eyes off the majestic elephants

When he was a kid, Vidyut says his mom told him, “Agar tum haathi ke neeche se nikal jaao toh tumhari sau saal umar ho jati hai.” Then with a grin, he adds, “So I shot a video in Chiang Mai, where I crossed from under the elephant five times. Greedy me! Mom was happy with the first one only. She didn’t care, ‘kahin dab mat jaana’. She was just, ‘very good!’.” That and 'Junglee’s promos might give you the impression that Vidyut was perfectly at ease around his mammoth co-stars, but what he says next surprises you – “I’m always scared around them. Always.” The actor explains why that fear is essential. “Hence they get the respect they ought to,” he says, “Fear keeps you on the edge. When I was standing on the elephant, it’s petrifying, by the way. It does scare you but being scared makes you more careful. Respect the being. You don’t fool around with them. You have to respect boundaries with them.”

It was that respect that helped Vidyut not be lulled by the myth of the ‘gentle giants’ and always be aware of their power. “You just keep hearing it, ‘They’re very gentle’. Gentle? Have you seen them angry? You’ll be surprised,” says Vidyut. That’s the dilemma conservation has faced often – people are driven by their fear to harm animals, or by misguided love or arrogance to get too close to them, which gets them, and often, the animal, killed. “Honestly, we should start with respect rather than love,” says Vidyut, “My relationship with my mother is more of respect, and then love comes second. There’s no first and second, but respect is the first thing – that gets the love. We need to respect these creatures, not only for their size, but for what we don’t know about them. We know nothing about them.”

Vidyut explains that the ‘gentle’ branding fails to recognise something far deeper in the elephant. “We just say, oh they’re gentle. But it’s actually that they’re so aware. They will never bump into a human being. You put five people in a small space, we’ll be pushing each other. But on set, you have 20-30 elephants, they don’t bump into each other, it’s amazing. So much awareness of this huge size of theirs. Their awareness is superior, far more superior.”

Vidyut has also nailed some killer Kalaripayattu moves in the movie, and he says the martial art helped him understand that awareness better. “What can’t be noticed by the common eye is that when they stand, their weight is not on their legs, it’s in their centre. In the Vedic science of Kalaripayattu, they say that if you start imbibing what you can from any creature – it could be a monkey, squirrel, giraffe, elephant – you can experience many lives in just one. We move like every animal. So what we imbibe from elephants is not their size, it’s how they keep themselves glued to the ground. And it’s not because of their weight, it’s because they keep themselves centred, grounded,” he says. To give a demo, he digs his feet into the ground in a warrior pose and asks two guys to try to tip him over. As intended, they fail. “What Kalaripayattu does, it explains to you everything you need to imbibe from them,” says Vidyut.

What Vidyut is hoping 'Junglee' achieves is a greater awareness about elephants and what they need to survive today. The film deals with poaching and the immediate danger they face of extinction. “Yes, in general, I don’t think they’re meant to interact with humans. But the ones we worked with in Thailand were domesticated. Their survival depends on learning how to deal with us. And that for me is a tragedy. That to protect them, we first have to tame them out of their natural habitat. But 'Junglee' is trying to show them at their most natural. We’re not making a song and dance about it, not preaching. We’ve not ‘taught’ anything, but people, especially children, will learn so much. I’ve realised that education, if it’s fun, will teach you. 'Junglee' expresses this fun.”

However, Vidyut’s idea of ‘fun’ during our shoot was still about educating, we realise, when he says, “One of the things that were running in my head when I was on top of the elephant was that we need to do this more in our country. We had to shoot the film in Thailand, but spending my day here, playing Holi with them, I felt so good that I’m doing this in my country. I felt so good that people will know about this place where they can come and really enjoy the elephants. That was my idea of fun (laughs).”

Our shoot started with five pachyderms, but once in the water, three of them just decided to roll onto their side and kick around in the pond. Like Vidyut told us, the elephants decide the day, not us!

And as you plan to have your fun today, Vidyut wants to leave you with this one thought: “With the elephants, I was always having a lot of fun. But it always came with being respectful of what they wanted, how they felt about me being around. I couldn’t cross any lines with them. That’s exactly how you ought to play your Holi too.”

Put that on your pichkaari!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

India’s First Elephant Hospital Is Treating Abused Elephants And Making A Difference Every Day

India is quite popular because of its oneness with nature and love for wildlife. According to Hindu philosophy (which is the major religion in India), animals are to be treated with kindness and many of them are represented in the form of deities too. So, when the country opened the first-ever elephant hospital back in 2018, it sent surges of joy throughout the world. And the good news is that a few months post its opening, this facility has successfully treated about 26 elephants.

The hospital is situated in Uttar Pradesh and was established by an animal welfare group called Wildlife SOS. It is a non-profit organization which is involved in the task of saving wild animals in India. It has been active since the year 1995. This group not only helps pachyderms but they have also helped turtles, bears, leopards, and different kinds of endangered species as well.

The problem with elephants in India comes due to their popularity among tourists. Due to the Western representation of India as a kind of magical and exotic land, elephants have gained a special value. Due to this stereotyping, many people still believe that Indians ride elephants and so, they also want to share the experience when they come to India. This results in the abuse of the mammal who is used in riding camps, temples, circuses, and for a variety of reasons by the tourism industry. Elephant abuse is rampant in India and neglecting them results in the rising complications of diseases among the elephant population. So, the hospital has come as a ray of light for them.

When a rescued elephant is brought into the medical center, they undergo a complete evaluation by a veterinarian. As most of these elephants are suffering from malnutrition and neglect, they have developed debilitating physical issues. The medical center is thus focused on treating old and injured elephants. It has all the modern equipment needed for a proper analysis of their physical conditions. They have ultrasound, digital radiology, pathology lab, laser therapy, hydrotherapy pool, and a special medical hoist to properly lift these large animals and put them in the treatment area. When a general check-up is required, they have jumbo-sized digital weight scales, and other necessary laboratory capabilities.

The Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital houses a portable X-Ray machine and they also have special foot-care tools. As there are many diseased elephants that need overnight observation, the medical center is fitted with infrared cameras so that veterinarians can monitor their patient the entire night.

Holly is one such patient of the hospital. She was a street-riding elephant and she was kept poorly by her owner. She is blind. When she first arrived in the hospital, her body was almost completely covered with untreated abscesses. Malnutrition has resulted in arthritis in her hind legs. She needed medical support and that too fast, but her owner did not think it was required.

In the hospital, Holly is being treated well. A team of veterinarians is trying to treat her painful arthritis by using therapeutic ultrasonography and cold laser therapy. They are also treating the abscesses daily and trying to keep her healthy by giving her the right amount of nutritious food.

After their treatment, these large mammals are taken to Wildlife SOS’s two elephant sanctuaries present in India: The Elephant Rescue Centre in Yamunanagar and The Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura. Thus, these elephants can spend the rest of their lives in peace and under proper protection.

Abused animals need our help and Wildlife SOS is doing their best to prevent it. We need to do our part as well and call out any kind of animal abuse that takes place. Animals are our friends – our neighbors. We should treat them with the same love and respect.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Elephant attacks man as he gets close to take picture in southern India


A man was knocked down by an elephant after getting too close to the animal in order to take a picture in southern India.

The incident took place on March 19 in Alappuzha district in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Footage captured on March 19 shows a man getting close to an elephant while trying to take a picture of the tusker at the Aravukadu Sreedevi temple.

The pachyderm then attacks the man, knocking him cold with its trunk.

The misery did not end there, the elephant later threw him away a few feet as other people watched in horror.

However, following the attack, the pachyderm did not do any harm.

The victim was identified as Reenesh, 43, a truck driver by profession. Fortunately, he survived the attack and has been in the hospital since. His condition is said to be critical.

It is yet not known what enraged the animal.

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Tusker died due to electrocution in Bandipur National Park

Chamarajanagara, Mar 19(UNI) A 20 year-old Tusker found dead when it came in contact with a
live cablewire drawn to illegally electrify fence surrounding a Farmland in Kundkere Range of

Bandipur forest range.

Officials said on Tuesday that they found the elephant dead and booked a case against the
landlord who is absconding.

Postmortem was conducted and carcass of the elephant was buried.

The first such incident occurred in Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the department has also filed a
complaint against Chamundeshwari Electrical Supply Corporation for failure to monitor and
crack down on power tapping illegally.


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Monday, March 18, 2019

After Dad and Daughter arrested from Kerala with ivory, 6790 kgs of red sandalwood seized in Kolkata

Kolkata, Mar 14 (UNI) After a dad and daughter from Kerala arrested
with banned ivory sculptures and elephant tusk worth Rs 34 lakh, the
DRI seized 6790 kgs of red sandalwood valued about over Rs 3.5 crore from
this metropolis, which turned to one of transit routes of contraband goods.

Altogether five people, three of them in the ivory case, have been
arrested following investigations by the Directorate of Revenue
Services (DRI), a central agency.

Father Sudheesh Chandra Babu,(67) and his daughter Amitha SC Babu
(37) have been arrested early this week when their chartered vehicle
was frisked at Kona Expressway on their temporary home in south Kolkata.

The father brought the ivory and elephant task from Kottayam.

The duo used to bring elephant tusks from Kerala and sculpted to
different kind of small sized statutes, mainly Hindu god and goddess.

A linkman, Gautam Bhaskar, a resident of Jiagunj of Murshidabad
district, also arrested in this connection. The linkman used to
exports those sculptors to foreign counties though the corridor of
Siliguri in north Bengal to Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Two pieces of elephant tusk weighing around 3 kgs were found when the
DRI arrested them. Later a raid at their temporary residence at Kasba
seized several carved ivory statuettes. The combined worth of the
hauls would be several crores of rupees.

The DRI got inputs from the Wild Life Crime Bureau in Kerala and since
then the DRI laid a trap and finally arrested the dag and daughter
red handed.

Sudheesh’s wife, wanted in a 2015 elephant poaching case in Kerala,
and their son are absconding, the official said.

The DRI also seized a covered truck from port area and recovered red
sandal woods weighing about 6790 kgs, worth over Rs 3.5 crores.

Two people have been arrested in this connection.


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A tusker and cow elephant found shot in Silent Valley

The discovery of two wild elephant carcasses in the buffer zone of the Silent Valley National Park in February has put wildlife wardens on their toes.

The killings have also spotlighted the threat posed by poachers who hunt wild elephants to harvest tusks and the powerful inter-State mafia that profits from the sale of ivory artefacts to wealthy collectors.

Forest Range Officer, Silent Valley, Najmal Ameen, said the carcasses were found on February 27, an estimated 400 m from each other. One was that of a tusker and the other a cow elephant. He said the animals had died of gunshot wounds and the poachers had hewn off their tusks. Wildlife enforcers have arrested two persons and recovered a country made musket from the suspects. However, they were yet to retrieve the tusks. Wildlife wardens also found the carcass of a bull elephant in the periphery of the Mannarkkad Forest Division. Sunil Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, said the kill appeared to be the handiwork of persons farming land on the fringes of the forest.

They could have shot or poisoned the elephant. Forensic veterinarians could not identify the cause of death because the body had decomposed badly. The tusks were seen pulled out and not chopped off as poachers tend to do, he said.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Surendra Kumar, told The Hindu that the evidence collected so far did not indicate an organised effort to poach elephants for their ivory as witnessed in Malayattoor, Vazhachal and Munnar forest divisions in 2014-15. (The killings of an estimated 18 bull elephants had resulted in an asymmetrical sex ratio in specific herds). Mr. Kumar said wildlife enforcers were not taking any chances. They have stepped up surveillance and wardens were increasingly relying on technology, including hidden night vision cameras and aerial drones, to tack poachers.

Wildlife investigators said they had identified at least 20 forest localities in Kerala, which they said were vulnerable to elephant poaching. They said they had responded to the threat by identifying, trapping and naming prominent herds and counting the wild elephants in their home range with particular emphasis on photographing and documenting the bulls.

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After decades, Junglee brings back magic of jumbos on big screen

Hindi cinema has not seen real elephants since the ’60s and ’70s. As Junglee fills that jumbo-sized gap, those that remember the thrill of watching elephants in theatres relive the era.

"When the elephant cried, I cried too”, “I wanted an elephant friend whom I could call by name”, “petting an elephant was my only dream” – these were just some responses we got from the generation that still remembers the magic of watching elephants ‘act’ on the big screen, when a handful of elephant movies were made in the ’60s and ’70s. Since then, it’s only been CGI elephants or animated characters, leaving later generations with only the imagination of what it would have been like watching real elephants in action in theatres. In fact, 'Haathi Mere Saathi' (1971) was such a huge hit that moviegoers stood in never-ending queues to get tickets. Those associated with these films of yore say that they gave the elephant characters their most human characteristics, and that the ’60s and ’70s were a defining period for elephants in Hindi cinema.

More than four-and-a-half decades later, that magic is set to be revived with 'Junglee', which stars Vidyut Jammwal and Bhola, the mighty elephant. With Bhola and his jumbo friends ready to take over the screens on March 29, kids finally have a chance to watch the story of a real elephant.

Dharmendra had the ‘best experience’ shooting for 'Shola Aur Shabnam' (1961). Seen here with Tarla Mehta

We used to wait for hours to get one shot with elephants: Dharmendra

Dharmendra, who shot with elephants in films like 'Maa' (1976) and 'Shola Aur Shabnam' (1961), says that the shooting was challenging but “one of the best experiences” an actor can have. He tells us, “In my career, I’ve got quite a few opportunities to shoot with animals, including elephants and tigers. One of the prominent ones was Maa, which was all about a mother elephant’s love for her little one and how she fights a man (played by Dharmendra) trying to trap the baby elephant. It was a beautiful film that conveyed an important message through a touching story. The film was loved not just in India, but was a huge hit in Russia as well. I really enjoyed shooting it. We were shooting in Mudumalai in Karnataka and it was interesting, but very challenging too. Those elephants and other animals we were shooting with were trained, but you need a lot of patience while shooting with them. We used to wait for hours just to get one perfect shot. It was a lot of hard work for everyone but I enjoyed every bit of it. I also got a chance to shoot with elephants in my second film, 'Shola Aur Shabnam'. We shot that in Karnataka as well.”

We shot in a forest with trained and wild elephants: 'Kala Parvat' director

MS Sathyu, best known for directing 'Garm Hawa' (1974), also directed 'Kala Parvat' (1972), an India and Soviet Union co-production. The film was jointly directed by MS Sathyu and Alexander Zagurdi. Sathyu says, “We shot the film in a forest with 80-90 real elephants, with a Russian group. Shooting this film was very difficult because we had different types of elephants – trained ones, wild elephants, baby elephants. But we had the expertise of a Russian crew, who advised us on how to deal with animals, and forest officials helped too. It was indeed a mammoth task, but children loved the film, and even now it is screened for kids.”

He adds, “Of course, a film shot with real elephants will work even in today’s time; children will especially love it. We don’t make films with real elephants anymore. Now, everything is animated.”

Rajesh Khanna-starrer 'Haathi Mere Saathi' (1971) was a massive hit

‘Haathi Mere Saathi was a massive success because it was Rajesh Khanna’s first film to connect with kids’

Gautam Chintamani, who has written Rajesh Khanna’s biography, had come across a number of anecdotes about 'Haathi Mere Saathi' during his research. He tells us, “When I was talking to Salim Khan, (who wrote the screenplay with Javed Akhtar), he told me that one of the major reasons behind the massive success of 'Haathi Mere Saathi' was that it was Rajesh Khanna’s first film that connected with children. A number of scenes with elephants were included just to entertain kids. Other than its success at the box office, the film had a message for animal rights too.”

Chintamani adds, “For me, another film which is memorable is Safed Haathi. As a kid, I related to this film so well because it was full of adventure. I also found Maa very exciting as a kid because of the animals. Those films had such a huge impact that you’d want to have an animal friend whom you could name and pet.”

'Haathi Mere Saathi' is said to be the first Rajesh Khanna film to connect with kids

Children love elephant movies, but directors don’t make them: Children’s Film Society of India

The Children’s Film Society of India’s (CFSI) catalogue lists only a few films on elephants, like 'Kala Parvat', 'Haathi Ka Anda' (which doesn’t have any elephant). Nagraj Kulkarni, a CFSI official, says, “We have films like 'Kala Parvat', and a few other regional films on elephants, but most of those are old. Nowadays, there are very few films on elephants. One reason could be that shooting permission is difficult to get.”

Dharmendra agrees, “In the ‘70s, it was easier to shoot with elephants and other animals, but now, the law is very strict and therefore we don’t see many films on elephants. I’m glad to hear that after so many years, there is this film called 'Junglee' that’s coming soon. I hope this film wins hearts and that it’s a big hit, and more and more people go to watch it. There are very few films now where we see elephants as part of the main story.”

Vidyut Jammwal and Bhola show the unbreakable bond between man and elephant in the upcoming 'Junglee'

‘Want to see how the elephants in 'Junglee' act and react’

As 'Junglee' has been shot with real elephants, those who have seen elephant movies in theatres are quite excited about the movie. Jaisingh Rajput, Assistant Officer in Production at CFSI, says, “As a kid, I’ve seen all the movies with elephants – be it 'Haathi Mere Saathi' or 'Kala Parvat' – and I’m a huge fan of them. There are so few films with real elephants in them, and where the elephant is not just an animal, but a character. I’m looking forward to watch the film to understand how they have dealt with the animal, is he also acting in the film, how he responds in the scenes.”

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Jumbo scare grips Palakkad village again

PALAKKAD: Fear has gripped Arangottukulambu area in Malampuzha as
wild elephants returned to human habitats on Friday and raided crops.

Forest department officials burst crackers and threw fire balls to drive
away the three wild elephants that returned to the area. They have now
crossed the Korayar River and went to the Valiyeri forest area but they
may return any time, residents said.

Last year, a farmer was killed by wild elephants at his rubber farm at
Arangottukulambu and attacked two women. Last week, another farmer
had a narrow escape from attack by wild elephants at Akkakunnu near

Residents said that three wild tuskers were camping in Arangottukulambu area for the past couple of months.

The elephants raided paddy, plantain and coconut cultivation.

The elephants also destroyed water pipes used for irrigation purposes and pumping motors in farms.

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Lone young woman groped, attacked by 2 men on Baner Rd

Duo molested woman as she returned home alone on her bike; when she hit back in self-defence, they
banged her head on her bike and attempted to throttle her

While Baner flourishes as an up-andcoming hospitality location of the city, lined with numerous new and upscale establishments advertising good food, tipple and retail, it continues to hide a seamy underbelly of wanton crime — clearly belying the same lack of safety for women seen across India.

This appalling undercurrent of misogyny and violence became apparent in the wee hours of Sunday, when a 25- year-old female resident of Baner was returning home alone on her two-wheeler from a casual evening of fun and laughter with her friends. As the woman traversed the usually safe, short stretch between Elephant and Co.
and her residence, the journey took a nightmarish turn around 2.20 am, when two men on a bike glided past her Activa and hit her on the chest, in the lane next to the Bata Showroom, a well-known landmark along the route.

Horrified and shaken, the woman halted her bike on the roadside and immediately called a male friend who lives close by to pick her up. The young animal welfare activist told Mirror, “I was in a state of shock and reached out to a friend for help. Alarmingly, those same men who had assaulted me turned back and came and stood nearby.

They began pretending that they were there to help me, and started touching me. Little did they know that the first time itself when they had tried to grope me, I had noticed their attire and the make of their vehicle. I told them to get away from me and not touch me. But, they refused to listen. I told them repeatedly to move away, and out of desperation, I finally hit out and slapped one of them.”

But this simple act of self-defence turned things further awry. Seemingly incensed at her ‘temerity’, the men became furious; one of them grabbed her hair to bang her head onto the speedometer of her bike, causing her nose to bleed profusely. At the same time, the other man began choking her.

“My vision started fading when he began strangling me, but I saw one of them trying to lift a huge pot to hit me with. When he couldn’t, they started dragging me to the pot,” narrated the traumatised woman.

Meanwhile, her friend had remained on the call with her and heard the entire incident as it took place. The Baner resident told Mirror, “I first received a hysterical call from her as she was crying, a few hours after midnight. She told me that a man on a bike had hit her on her chest and she was in a state of shock. My home is at a walking distance from where she was, so I ran down, still on the call with her — suddenly, I heard her screaming for help.

I rushed to the spot and saw two men pulling her by her hair in the middle of the road. I ran over and pushed them away.”

The woman also did not lose her presence of mind and immediately grabbed the bike key of the assailants before calling the police. “The cops came to the spot around 15-20 minutes later. Both the attackers kept repeating that I had hit one of them first, justifying what they had done by hitting me back,” she said.

On hearing the exchange, police arrested the two accused, Avinash Dhankude and Shekhar Kalamkar, and filed an FIR against them by 5 am on Sunday. Now, they will be produced in court.

Assistant police inspector DS Shinde of Chaturshringi police station confirmed, “Early on Sunday morning, when the incident took place, we immediately filed the FIR and arrested the accused. It was a case of serious assault on a woman. The duo will be produced before court and an investigation into what happened is in process. We are gathering evidence and taking the matter very seriously.” Cops are also gathering closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage from buildings around the crime scene.

For now, Dhankude and Kalamkar have been booked under sections 354 (assault on a woman to outrage her modesty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult provoking breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

Early on Sunday morning after the incident, we immediately filed the FIR and arrested the accused. It was a case of serious assault on a woman. The duo will be produced in court. We are gathering evidence and investigating the matter seriously

— API DS Shinde, Chaturshringi PS

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Taken to function, ailing jumbo dies

TRICHY: A 59-year-old female captive elephant from Srirangam died from
ill health while she was being transported to Trichy in a lorry, near

Namakkal, early on Sunday. She collapsed in the vehicle letting out a loud
cry, forcing the driver to pull over and check. Following an inspection, the
driver found the animal lying dead.

Called Gulabi, the elephant was owned by N Baskar, Srirangam. She was
taken to Gaja puja in Pollachi, Coimbatore district, as part of a wedding
ceremony. The death happened when she was transported back to
another function in Trichy for which the owner had received an advance.

It is alleged that the owner showed disregard for the condition of the
ailing elephant and deliberately ignored all related symptoms which
proved fatal. A senior forest department official said that Baskar had ignored their warning against taking the animal for long journey and paid the price for it.

Terming the incident cruel, animal activists called for stringent action against the owner for engaging it in work endangering the life. “For an elephant of this age, rest is mandatory. But it was made to travel in truck till Pollachi for about 6 hours, the official said.

“Unable to bear the heat, Gulabi fainted in the truck. Despite being administered intravenous fluids it did not stand on its feet.

After facing all this, the elephant was made to stand till the wedding concluded in the evening in Pollachi,” the forest department officials said.

Though Baskar had obtained necessary approval from forest department in Chennai, reports suggested he had not informed Trichy or Coimbatore forest officials before transporting the elephant.

When contacted, Baskar said Gulabi had been ill until a few weeks back, but doing well over the past few days. He took the animal only after obtaining medical certificate and clearance from forest department.

Alleging that elephants are being subjected to cruelty by their owners for money, animal activist P Paulraj said such incidents go mostly unnoticed due to irresponsible forest department.

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TN: Ailing elephant taken 200 km away for wedding function, dies on way back

Gulabi, an ailing 60-year-old elephant died while being transported on a truck from Pollachi to Srirangam, a distance of 200 kilometres. Animal activists have accused the owner of inhumane exploitation of the mammal as it was sent to take part in a wedding celebration to Pollachi even as she was unwell. Activists say veterinarians had advised complete rest for Gulabi as she was suffering from an illness. The animal fainted several times in Pollachi and with great difficulty she was put on a truck with the help of an excavator for her return journey. She died before reaching Srirangam, and her carcass has been taken into custody by forest officials for conducting postmortem examination.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Elephant dies while being transported back to Srirangam from Pollachi

The elephant died when the truck reached Namakkal around 4am on Sunday. TRICHY: A more than 60 years old female elephant, owned by a man in Srirangam, died on Sunday morning while being brought back from Pollachi on a truck. The elephant, called Gulabi, was taken to Pollachi - situated more 200 km from Srirangam - on Friday for a wedding ceremony on Saturday.Animal activists said the owner of the elephant had sent the ailing animal to Pollachi for monitory gain, without caring about its health.

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Man trampled by wild elephant

Chikkamagaluru, Mar 17 (UNI) A 50-year-old agricultural labourer was attacked by a wild
elephant that trampled him death at Mellenhalli in the district on Saturday evening.

Forest officials said on Sunday that the victim had been identified as Premantha Raju, a
native of Mudigere taluk.

The incident occurred when he was encountered the elephant while he was working in a coffee estate.

His family was residing at the workers’ quarters on the estate.

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Wildlife Experts Demands Joint Initiative to save Jumbos in Barak Valley



GUWAHATI: Wildlife experts in Assam have demanded the Centre to launch a joint initiative with Bangladesh to save elephants in the Barak Valley.

According to experts, the only way to save the elephants in the Patharia Reserve Forest in Karimganj district of Barak Valley is through joining hands with Bangladesh for biodiversity conservation.

On other hand, researchers at the Assam University, Silchar, have also observed that initiating any conservation action for the Patharia Reserve Forest area is very tough as this deserves joint initiatives of both the countries (India and Bangladesh). Their observation has been published in a study entitled ‘Importance of trans-boundary conservation of the Asiatic elephant in Patharia hills’. The study has been done by Parthankar Choudhury and Nazimur Rahman Talukdar of Assam University and Rofik Ahmed Barbhuiya of Udhayan, a local NGO.

The Patharia Hills Reserve Forest occupies an area of 76.47 square km and is situated on the western side of Karimganj district and the eastern side of Sylhet district of Bangladesh.

“If conservation action is not taken up right now, the reserve forest will be a dense human settlement area without any trace of wildlife in the near future,” the study says.

Parthankar Choudhury, a researcher at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Assam University, said there are only six elephants (all females) in the Patharia Reserve Forest and translocation of a male elephant is the need of the hour. Such initiative has to be done by the government on a priority basis for their sustenance in this patch on the Indo- Bangladesh border, he said.

The elephants at the Patharia Reserve Forest are now divided into two small herds, three in each group and it has been observed that one herd always follows the other. They stay on both sides of the forest (Indian as well as on the Bangladesh portion) and cross the border frequently. The elephants have broken the border fences and use the route as their migratory corridor.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

The passionate wildlife conservationist of Assam who followed his dreams

A dream which Binod ‘Dulu’ Borah had when he was all of seven started his connect with nature and wildlife. Born in Chapanalla, a village close to the Karbi foothills of Nagaon district in Assam, today ‘Dulu’ is a passionate wildlife conservationist. Dulu dreamt that an elephant calf was frolicking around, but abruptly fell into an open well. Strangely enough, the well was located in a plot which belonged to his neighbour, Naren Tanti.

Dulu woke up with a start and narrated the dream to his father and relatives. He was cocksure that the incident had taken place, but no one believed him. Lo and behold, a few hours later, Dulu’s dream had indeed turned real – an elephant calf had indeed fallen in a well which belonged to his neighbour, Tanti!

A report published in theThe Better India quoted Dulu as saying, “I had noticed wild birds, turtles and small mammals in the weekly market near my village, and they would eventually be sold as bush meat. So, I’d keep coming up with ways to purchase them and set them free. Sometimes, I would even take money from my elder brothers without asking,” he recalls.

Five years later, Dulu became associated with Green Guard Nature Organization (GGNO), a grassroots organisation in Nagaon established in 1994, that has emerged as an agency for wildlife conservation. In the last three decades, Dulu has managed to rescue over 2,500 animals including 3 elephant calves, 2 leopard cubs, 3 bear cubs, 6 slow lorises, 10 Chinese pangolins, more than 20 deer, several hares, monkeys, mongoose, geckos, flying squirrel, civets, over 600 snakes including 14 King cobras, hundreds of turtles and hundreds of birds.

The report further quoted him as saying, “Most of the rescued wildlife species are rehabilitated back to the wilderness, close to the place of rescue. If the animal is injured, we keep it in my backyard, which is the GGNO’s temporary rescue centre. Here, the animal is provided veterinary treatment and then, is either released or sent for further treatment as recommended. In case the rescued animal is a baby mammal, we send it to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC),” he shares.

Over his years of rescue efforts, Dulu has managed to establish a network of informers from communities across the region, who alerts him whenever they come across any suspicious activity. This has often led to a conflict of interest. He laments that encroachment of forest areas has led to the shrinking of wildlife habitat and hindered the ability of wild animals to move around the terrain.

A green thumb, in the past six years, ‘Dulu’ has planted over 25,000 trees. On behalf of GGNO, he also goes around conducting awareness programmes and outreach sessions in not just villages but also local schools and colleges on the importance of wildlife conservation and the impact of community participation.

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‘Junglee’: Vidyut Jammwal reveals that Elephants were the stars on the sets of the film

Actor Vidyut Jammwal is all set to enthral the audience with his upcoming adventure family drama titled, ‘Junglee’. The film has been receiving overwhelming response ever since the trailer of the film has been unveiled. If the makers and the actors of the film are anyone to believe, the Elephants, who play a major part in the film, played their charm and made everyone including the acclaimed Hollywood director Chuck Russell run to their tails.

Sharing one such anecdote, Vidyut Jammwal said, "Elephants were our stars. To add depth, crew used to add foilage on the set but for elephants it was their usual lunch. We literally sat and witnessed Bhola and his gang relish our set while the crew again rebuilt the setup again."

Elaborating more, he added, “We were like secondary cast, always on stand-by. When the herd was done eating and relaxing, we would take positions and perform. The unpredictability made it so much fun. We were lucky to witness Elephants in their natural habitat, just being themselves. Final result was worth all the wait.”

“We were one with nature. Experiences like this don't come often," he concluded.

The makers also made sure that the environment that there was Zero Carbon footprint on sets. The actors and crew members were instructed to communicate softly on sets as Elephants are used to a silent atmosphere.

'Junglee' is produced by Vineet Jain and co-produced by Priti Shahani, the film also stars Pooja Sawant, Asha Bhat, Atul Kulkarni and Makarand Deshpande.

The film is all set to take you for an adventure ride on March 29.

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Bengaluru Buzz: HC puts brakes on elevated corridor | Bannerghatta Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone trimmed down | E-autos in IISc

Karnataka High Court has asked the state government to halt work on the elevated corridor project until it decides on a case related to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC). MPC, the statutory body responsible for city planning and approving major projects like the elevated corridor, has been almost dysfunctional. A few citizen activists from the Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Citizen’s Action Forum had filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) after government hurriedly called tenders for the elevated corridor project, without public consultations.

A bench headed by the Acting Chief Justice Narayana Swamy and Justice Dinesh Kumar told the state government “not to precipitate matters” and to put its activity on the corridor on hold. The next date of hearing is March 19th.

Meanwhile, civic groups led by r Citizens foBengaluru (CfB) have organised a protest rally on Saturday, to demand that the government cancel the tenders called for the first phase of the 102-km-long elevated corridor project. The rally will be held under the slogan ‘#ElevatedCorridorTenderRadduMadi’.

The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) had floated tenders for the first phase of the project on March 4th. The first phase comprises the 22 km-long North-South corridor, from Baptist Hospital on Bellary Road to Silk Board Junction.

Source: The New Indian Express | The News Minute | The Hindu

Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone trimmed down

Thousands of citizens had objected to the trimming down of Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), which provides a regulated buffer zone around protected areas. Yet, the ESZ Expert Committee of the centre’s MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) has recommended that the park’s ESZ remain at 168 sq kms, reduced by about 100 sq kms (37 percent) from the original proposal. The first draft notification issued in 2016 had marked 268 sq kms as ESZ.

The new ESZ will range from 100 metres (towards Bengaluru) to one kilometre (in Ramanagaram district), from the periphery of the protected area. About 150 to 200 elephants have been spotted in the park, according to estimates by the ESZ Committee.

Source: The Hindu

HC to media: ‘Don’t cross Lakshman rekha’

The Karnataka High Court cautioned the media not to cross the “Lakshman rekha”, or encroach into others’ privacy. Justice B Veerappa said that the right of the media to publish facts or opinions should only be to foster public interest, without invading into an individual’s personal life. The media should toe the line, especially since laws relating to matrimonial disputes and divorce, and offences against children and women, have imposed “reasonable restrictions”, he said.

Justice Veerappa made these observations while allowing a petition filed by a software engineer, a woman who lives in Cardiff. She had sought that a Kannada TV channel be restricted from telecasting information about her marital dispute, which was pending before a family court.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India

E-rickshaws in IISc campus

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is launching a campus service of 10 electric autos on March 16th, to help transport students, staff, faculty and visitors within the 400-acre campus.

Called Pick-E-Rick, the autos will ply on five routes with distance ranging from 1.94 kms to 3.3 kms. They will operate between 8 am and 7.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. A flat fare of Rs 5 will be charged from each person for a one-way trip. The fare can be paid only through digital mode via an app or e-wallet. Transvahan Technologies India Pvt Ltd will be operating the e-rickshaws on an ‘Own, Operate, Maintain’ basis.

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