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.Updated: Nov 07, 2017 13:47 IST
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.
Here are some of the reactions on social media
Biplab Hazra's heart-breaking photo of an elephant and a calf escaping a mob in West Bengal is a searing testimony of human monstrosity. pic.twitter.com/NDhL9lMH6K— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) November 6, 2017
First they encroach, then they poach.....appalled, such insensitivity, travesty and violence against a creature so magnificent!— Coat and Gown Ninja (@mridul_chakra) November 7, 2017
Aren't you guys supposed to worship Lord Ganesh as a God? Torturing monkeys and now this! Some Gods. Monstrous people indeed.— karachi ahab (@karachiahab) November 6, 2017
We have encroached far too much into forestland - this is where they once lived without humans around.— Deepak Mohoni (@deepakmohoni) November 7, 2017
Can't blame the elephants, can we?— Nilim Dutta (@NilimDutta) November 6, 2017
It is humans who have encroached into their forests & migration corridors.https://t.co/YQPYKpujkd