A shocking photo of a mother elephant and her infant being set on fire by a mob of angry individuals has turned into a world-wide discussion.
Evidently, the photo shows the two wild animals running away from a crowd, as people hurled flaming balls of tar and crackers at them. Taken by Biplab Hazra, the photo titled: ‘Hell is here’, was captured in the Bankura district of West Bengal, where human-elephant conflict is rife.
When interviewed, Hazra stated:
“For these smart, gentle, social animals who have roamed the subcontinent for centuries, hell is now and here.”
“It is frequently found that people dwelling near forest take resort to various methods which disturb the wild animals & make them ferocious to take revenge.”
According to Sanctuary Asia’s Facebook Page:
“70 per cent of the world’s population of Asian elephants live in India, but the conflict between them and local people result in up to 300 human deaths and 50 elephant deaths per year.”
This conflict is largely based on crop raiding because elephants may prefer feeding on crops compared to wild forage because of their higher nutritive content and palatability.
Nonetheless, Elephants are huge – they are the biggest mammal on land and they have huge home ranges, around 800 sq km. Such huge unreserved forest tracts are becoming very rare, yet we as humans, are completely destroying not only our planet, but the innocent animals that live in it as well.
Featured Image via photographer Biplab Hazra