For those who thought that wildlife conservation efforts in India focused solely on the tiger, here is some news. The Government has finally decided to create a National Elephant Conservation Authority (Neca).
At the ‘Elephant 8 Ministerial Meet’, Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, said, “The tiger faces a crisis of extinction. There is increasing pressure on the elephant habitat, most of which comes from mining activities in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. We have to find a way to maintain a balance between the development aspirations of the local population and the sanctity of the elephant’s habitat.”
The event also saw the launch of a nationwide campaign, Haathi Mere Saathi, that aims at sensitising people about the welfare prospects of our national heritage animal.
Ramesh, in a chatty mood, said, “I recall a very famous Bollywood film (Haathi Mere Saathi) in which the actor is raised by elephants. He wins the heroine with the help of the elephants, etcetera. We hope that we can entice Rajesh Khanna to join the campaign. He has now grown older and doesn’t venture out that much. However, the heroine of the film, Tanuja, is still very active. Maybe we can get both of them together sometime.”