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Sid wakes up to the call of elephants
Actor Siddharth Malhotra celebrates ‘Save the Elephant Day’ at a rescue centre
Sidharth Malhotra, who has always embraced the outdoors, has now lent his persona for a cause, that of saving elephants. On Monday, he spent a day with rescued and rehabilitated elephants at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, run by wildlife conservation NGO Wildlife SOS in Mathura.
Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. India currently has a population of about 25,000-30,000 elephants out of which about 3,500 are captive elephants.
Wildlife SOS co-founders Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani welcomed Sidharth Malhotra and showed him around the centre. Being an ardent animal lover, he spent quality time with rescued elephants Laxmi, Maya and Phoolkali and fed them fresh fruits — bananas, sugarcane and watermelon. He also observed the veterinarians at the rescue centre providing treatment and foot care to the elephants and learning about the status of Asian elephants in India.
The highlight of the visit, however, was his interaction with Gajraj, the 70-year-old tusker, who was rescued from Satara, Maharashtra in June 2017 after Sidharth had brought attention to his plight through his social media platforms. He was used in temple processions for over 51 years and with advancing age, the elephant was found to be suffering from several medical issues like foot abcess and partial blindness. Gajraj is now under lifetime care and treatment at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, which is home to over 20 elephants that were rescued from critical situations and are under rehabilitation now.
Several of these majestic animals have spent a majority of their lives doing hard work in harsh and cruel conditions, which in turn has taken a negative toll on them, both physically and psychologically. Sidharth was deeply moved upon hearing the heart-breaking stories of these elephants and what they had endured before they were rescued by Wildlife SOS.
Malhotra, said, “Save The Elephant Day is a great initiative. It’s extremely essential for each one of us to do our bit and help save our animals.”
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