The Human Elephant Conflict in Kerala Has Deadly Consequences

Female Adult Elephant Succumbed to Fire Burns and Internal Trauma

Photo: courtesy Mr. Venkitachalam

A baby elephant has been orphaned after it was captured with its mother from the Peppara Forest in Kerala (India), and taken to a local elephant camp. Apparently the pair was trespassing an agricultural land when the tribal community in the outskirts of the forest lit up high decibel fireworks to scare off the animals.

Unfortunately though, the sparks landed on the poor female elephant and inflicted serious burn wounds on its body, making it impossible to return to the forest.

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Examining Core Values on World Elephant Day

Photo Credit: Tony Azios, Cinematographer

Today is the third annual “World Elephant Day” honoring two magnificent species, and bringing global awareness to the plight of African and Asian elephants. These intelligent gentle giants are loved, admired and revered by cultures and people around the world. And yet, paradoxically human actions are pushing them to the brink of extinction.

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India’s Elephants Are Celebrated as Icons but Tortured in Reality

What do you think would be the best birthday gift for someone who’s in jail and shackled 24/7? How about Freedom? And what if we offered this gift to the embodiment of the Birthday God, Lord Ganesh?

Ganesh Chathurti falls on August 29 when Indian people will kick off 10 days of celebrations. Massive clay statues of the elephant god will be unveiled in homes and street corners, as sounds of drums and pipes will reverberate across the nation. After 10 days of worship, the statues will be immersed in the sea and people’s lives will return to normalcy.

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Let’s Spend More on Wildlife Protection and Less on the Military

This aerial view, as Mark Deeble's aircraft hovered over Satao's body covered in bird feaces

Harmonious coexistence with each other and all sentient beings could be the ROI if countries divested some of their military funding into wildlife protection rather than waging war against nations to exploit their natural resources.

World military expenditure in 2012 is estimated to have reached $1.756 trillion with a small number of countries (15 to be exact), rolling out the largest military spending budget. The USA contributes to 39% of the world military budget, followed by China at 9.5%, Russia 5.2%, UK 3.5%, and trailing closely behind, Japan at 3.4%. But what if some of the military resources and or funding can be utilized in protecting our wildlife and making peace with our natural world?

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For Elephants, India’s Trissur Pooram Is Torturous

Temple and festival elephants were drowning in a sea of sadness as the masses gathered in the thousands to celebrate the annual Trissur Pooram in Kerala, India — the largest congregation of male elephants in the world. More than 90 elephants took turns during a 36-hour festival to entertain the insane crowd, mostly drunk and occasionally drenched by sudden downpours.

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How Doublespeak Is Ruining Our Environment

Millions of dollars have been channeled into framing climate change messages by intentional misuse of language so as to mislead the masses. The Guardian reports, conservative billionaires have doled out nearly $120m between 2002 and 2010 to re-define climate messages and frame them in a manner that would cast doubt about the climate science.

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Every Parent’s Nightmare Is an Elephant’s Reality

It’s a warm Saturday in summer, and as part of your weekend routine you’re chilling in your own backyard with your partner, two adorable babies, and a few close relatives. Everything is peaceful and quite, and in the background you can hear sweet melodies of birds, and the bubbling brook nearby.

Suddenly the silence is broken. You hear strange voices and bodies approaching you, and before you know it, your home is surrounded by hundreds of aggressive aliens. They invade your home, snatch your most treasured jewel — your two young children, drag their mum, lock her up in one vehicle and relatives in the other, and in a matter of seconds they’re gone.

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Don’t Torture Elephants in the Name of Religion

What would it take for a technologically advanced and modernized country like India to relinquish traditions that perpetuate animal torture and brutality?

It’s commendable that India has banned use of exotic animals in circuses. But unfortunately the Animal Welfare Board of India has yet to ban elephants in festivities, particularly in Kerala, where the basic welfare of captive elephants seems to be ignored.

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The Elephant Who Stole My Heart

Elephants have no sweat glands. In order to maintain their average body temperatures at about 37 degrees Celsius, they soak themselves in rivers or lakes in the wild. But in captivity they need to be hosed frequently otherwise the body temperature could rise up to as high as 90 degrees Celsius, high enough to kill the animal.

Through my sojourns during my recent visit to Kerala, Lakshmi — the most gorgeous 25-year-old female Asian elephant — left an indelible impression. It was love at first sight the moment I stepped into her sphere of captivity. Lakshmi captured my heart and soul with her intense brown eyes, grace, and pious, but most importantly by opening her heart and showering me with unconditional love.

It seems like an illusion when I reflect back on a hot and humid December morning, as we drove into a beautiful mansion, our team greeted by two dogs — dark brown German Shepherds — barking at us. Ignoring them, we walked into the massive yard, and no sooner my colleagues were drawn into a conversation with the owners. I was way too curious, so quietly sneaked to the backside of the yard.

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