Sunday, May 31, 2009

Elephant rescued from a ditch in India

Forest rangers in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri District have rescued an elephant that had fallen into a ditch.
The elephant was passing through this route when it slipped and fell into the ditch. Some of the tea garden workers saw it lying there and informed the forest officials.
Later, the forest officials rushed to the spot with a crane and rescued the majestic elephant, believed to be around 11 years in age. The pachyderm was gently helped up by the crane.
After being pulled out of the ditch, the elephant instantly was up on its feet and without wasting a second fled from the spot towards the nearby forest.
"Now, it is healthy. We are feeling very nice. We have been able to save a beautiful animal," said Niranjita Maitra, Assistant Wildlife Warden, Jalpaiguri Range.
Over the past couple of decades, India has struggled to tackle the problem of shrinking wildlife that is attributed to encroachment by humans.
The conflict often ends with villagers killing elephants and wildlife experts say it is imperative to wean them away from wildlife habitats by providing them alternative livelihood.
Home to 50,000 wild Asian elephants a century ago, just 26,400 elephants were roaming India’s national parks and forests as per a census of 2002.
Worse, the first comprehensive elephant census published in 2005 showed a further steep drop in numbers to just 21,300 elephants.
A recent survey by the Ministry of Environment reported a steady depletion of forestland in 11 major wildlife reserves since 1997.
According to another survey, only 20 per cent of India’s landmass is forested and just 120,000 square kilometers — less than four percent of the country — of that is suitable for elephants.

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