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Monday, August 11, 2014

World Elephant Day .......... elephants must be preserved ..

The Glorious Twelfth is a term used to refer to 12th  August, the start of the shooting season for Red Grouse (a bird) in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, with large amounts of game being shot~ and it is stated to be ‘World Elephant Day; too. 

Elephants are very attractive – more so in the wild than in captivity .. sadly its population is plummeting in recent years. Organisations are crying hoarse that Africa is currently experiencing the highest rate of elephant mortality in history, driven largely by a multibillion-dollar illicit ivory trade. Experts have warned that African elephants could become extinct within 10 years. Several hundred are killed every week by well-armed poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts. Roughly 30,000 were killed last year, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.   Ivory, the hard, white material derived from the tusks and teeth of animals, especially the mammoth elephant is very costly. Whether it is costly or useful ~ it looks good on an elephant and is its body part, not an ornamental piece meant for your display…………..

For ages, temple elephants have been a vital part of temple ceremonies and festivals especially in South India. In Kerala, they have a pride of place – as evidenced by the Pooram festivals or the Punnathur kotta, the place for temple elephants at Guruvayoor.  Residents of Triplicane will ever remember the great majestic beautiful tusker named “Azhwar” about whom I have posted in detail earlier. Azhwan fondly was one who probably never misbehaved. This gigantic one would be bathed, decorated with thiruman on its forehead and would accompany perumal purappadu. At the end of the purappadu have seen Azhwar offering ‘saamaram’ to Perumal and would walk backwards. It used to carry sacred water (Thirumanjana kudam) from the temple tank, being taken in a procession every morning.

Sadly, over the World, the tusks & teeth of elephants – are its enemy – as they get killed for ivory.  The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness around the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants  The demand for ivory, which is highest in China, leads to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants. Satao, one of the largest elephants  was recently murdered for his iconic tusks. Some local populations face an immediate threat of extinction, a United Nations-linked wildlife conservation agency said. Criminal gangs and rebel militias hunt dwindling herds for tusks that fetch many thousands of dollars per kilo, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species said.  The animals are also under threat from loss of habitat, climate change and pollution.

On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants.  World Elephant day was conceived by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand.  A web search reveals that the Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims recently met with a vehicle accident and have sustained grievous injuries.   

This is a post to express solidarity with the groups engaged in protecting the wild elephant.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

11th Aug 2014.

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