The World Elephant Day was celebrated at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on Monday with the State’s Forests and Wildlife Minister Harak Singh Rawat as the chief guest. The Elephant Cell was also inaugurated at the WII on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Rawat said despite its comparatively small geographical area, Uttarakhand has about 28 per cent of the nation’s biodiversity. The considerable proportion of forest area in the State poses various challenges to the people and the Government with the human-wildlife conflict being one of them. Forest and wildlife experts should guide all possible efforts to mitigate this human-elephant conflict, he added.
The Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change additional secretary Praveen Garg said swift action is being taken on recommendations being made by institutions with expertise in this subject to mitigate human-elephant conflict. Studies conducted so far have shown that there are 101 elephant corridors in the country and the pressure is rising on most of them, he added.
A video message by the Union Minister of Forests, Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar was also played on the occasion. Earlier, the director of Project Elephant, Noyal Thomas welcomed the gathering. A short video film on glimpses of technology application for addressing rail-induced elephant mortality was also screened by the institute.
An elephant art piece signifying the importance of elephant corridors was unveiled by the Rawat on the occasion. Prizes were also distributed to the school children who won in the painting competition and wildlife, environment and elephant quiz competition.
Over 500 participants were present in the celebration.
The WII director VB Mathur, ADG (Wildlife) MS Negi, director general of forests, Siddhanta Das and the state’s principal chief conservator of forests Jai Raj also expressed their views on the occasion.