Conservationists on Tuesday hailed socialite Paris Hilton, who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, for apparently trying to highlight the cause of binge-drinking elephants in northeast India.
Activists said a celebrity endorsement was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that get drunk on farmers’ homemade rice beer then go on a rampage. Last month, six wild elephants that broke into a farm in Meghalaya were electrocuted after discovering and drinking the potent brew and then uprooting an electricity pole.
“There would have been more casualties if the villagers hadn’t chased them away. And four elephants died in a similar way three years ago. It is just so sad,” Hilton was quoted as saying in Tokyo last week.
“The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them,” she said in a report posted on the World Entertainment News Network website. Her comments were also picked up by other websites and newspapers around the globe.
It wasn’t immediately possible to verify the comments as Hilton’s publicist could not be reached. “I am happy Hilton has taken note of wild elephants in the northeast going berserk after drinking homemade rice beer and getting killed,” said Sangeeta Goswami, who heads People for Animals. “As part of her campaign, Hilton should, in fact, think of visiting this region literally infested with elephants,” she added.