Sajal Madhu Launches ‘Hathi Mera Sathi’ Campaign In Chhattisgarh
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Sanctuary’s Mud on Boots Project Leader Sajal Madhu launched an awareness campaign titled ‘Hathi Mera Sathi’, for the locals of Dharamjaigarh in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.
Photo: Sajal Madhu.
Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in Chhattisgarh has claimed the lives of a number of elephants and people this year, including two women who were trampled to death by a herd of elephants in May and two elephants, one of which was pregnant, that were electrocuted in January. In the past 15 days, two elephant deaths have been reported from the state, both caused by pesticide poisoning.
Sajal Madhu has been working to record and mitigate HEC in Raigarh under his initiative Hathi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti. Through this campaign, members of the community will be apprised of the current conflict situation using multi-media clips and anecdotal accounts. Addressing the assembled crowd during the launch of the campaign, Sajal expounded on the behaviour of elephants, explaining how these giants themselves are victims of displacement and habitat-destruction. Members of the Forest Department, including DFO Pranay Mishra, answered questions regarding why and under what situations elephants attack humans.
In this first-of-its-kind interactive discussion between the locals and the Forest Department, the locals were discouraged from indulging in practices such as taking photos of elephants from close quarters and throwing stones at passing herds. A protocol involving maintaining a safe distance from straying elephants was shared by the Forest Department.
The Forest Department also appealed to the villagers to help the department in managing the conflict situation. While the officials reassured the villagers that their safety was the department’s priority, they also condemned violence against the elephants.
“The event was attended by over 1000 people. This is the first time in Raigarh, that members of the Forest Department and villagers have sat face to face, and participated in problem-solving,” said Madhu.