Hell is here: Powerful photo captures elephant, calf escaping flaming tar balls, crackers | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Hell is here: Powerful photo captures elephant, calf escaping flaming tar balls, crackers

Titled ‘Hell is here’, Biplab Hazra’s photograph brings to light the startling reality concerning the human-elephant conflict in India.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2017 13:47 IST
The photograph shows the two elephants escaping flaming tar balls and crackers that were hurled at them.
The photograph shows the two elephants escaping flaming tar balls and crackers that were hurled at them. (Facebook/Sanctuary Asia)

A photograph of a panicked elephant and her calf fleeing a mob of people in West Bengal’s Bankura district has won the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards this year.

Titled ‘Hell is here’, Biplab Hazra’s photograph brings to light the startling reality concerning the human-elephant conflict in India.

The photograph shows the two elephants escaping flaming tar balls and crackers that were hurled at them. The mother’s ears are angled forward as she and her child appear to be screaming in confusion and fear as the fire licks at the young one’s feet. A mob is seen in the background.

The awards are instituted by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, a Mumbai based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works towards biodiversity conservation and community engagement.

“In the Bankura district of West Bengal, this sort of humiliation of pachyderms is routine, as it is in the other elephant-range states of Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and more,” the foundation said in a release.

Elephants are long range animals requiring large habitats, but newer human habitations have cut off elephant corridors, trapping the giant mammals in smaller areas and forcing them to raid towns and villages.

India is the world’s stronghold for the Asian elephant and boasts over 70% of the global population of the species. West Bengal has nearly 800 of the 30,000 elephants in the country, according to the last official count in 2014.

The environment ministry said 84 elephants were killed between April 2014 and May this year, mostly in poacher attacks. The endangered species are targeted for their tusks.

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