Is hell already here? Or are we slowing down the pace?
This award-winning picture was taken by India's Biplab Hazra, a wildlife photographer. The image showing a baby elephant being burnt by the mob to keep them away from human habitation has earned quite some flak online ever since Sanctuary Asia announced its awards.
This photograph, clicked in India's West Bengal, is home to about 800 elephants. India plays host to around 30,000 Asia elephants -- almost 70% of the world's population. It is no news that the country has lost forests to urbanisation over years forcing wild animals to foray into human-occupied zones. An increasing number of forests are being cut down or degraded to create infrastructure, roads, pipelines and other facilities needed by the human civilisation.
As a result, this massive being steps down to reach human inhabited fields and villages. Unknowingly, elephants cause financial loss to the rural population by trampling over their crops. Angered by this, villagers, rural dwellers and farm owners are not too happy with elephants.
Elephants meet with such accidents not just in West Bengal, but also in other parts of India such as Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
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The story is sad and it is stale. But, we will have to spell it out as many times as we face such man-animal conflicts.
The photograph below is an example of such man-elephant conflict that has got enough attention in the past as well, but the matter awaits a solution even today.
After all, how can man, the superior most being, be defeated by a mere animal even though it weighs about 5000-odd kilograms.
We have read varying views on how this photo should not have won the award. On how barbaric this act is and how the photographer should have fought the mob instead of standing there and clicking the photograph.
1,143 days (April 2014-May 2017)
As someone sensible has commented, we need to do more than protecting one particular animal in one particular incident only. There needs to be a sea change in the mentality and outlook of us, humans.
We believe that no one is endorsing this treatment towards animals and this image should be treated as an attempt to highlight this issue.
What do you think?