4-day elephant festival to begin tomorrow

Artists from across the country have created 101 life sized elephant art pieces representing the 101 elephant corridors of India, which serves as a jumbo draw for the public.

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New Delhi: A four-day elephant festival ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ will kick start tomorrow in the national capital to celebrate majestic Asian elephant on the occasion of World Elephant Day.

Leading wildlife conservation NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is organising the festival at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts in association with the Union Environment Ministry and in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the UN Environment.

The festival aims to enhance awareness for the conservation efforts necessary to protect and preserve our national heritage animal across the country, an official statement said.

Artists from across the country have created 101 life sized elephant art pieces representing the 101 elephant corridors of India, which serves as a jumbo draw for the public.

Open to public, over the next few days, the event will witness active participation from policy makers, industry leaders, influencers from the world of entertainment, sports, arts and culture, eminent conservationists and artists and the people from Delhi-NCR.

There will be dance and music performances by distinguished artistes such as Mallika Sarabhai and Astad Deboo to showcase the elephant in Indian tradition.

Films and talks by filmmakers Ashish ChandolaKrishnendu Bose on the majestic elephant; an exhibition of elephant themed art and photographs uniquely curated by acclaimed Curators Ina Puri and Alka Pande will also be there.

In addition, there will be various workshops for children like Bulbul Sharma’s story -telling and painting, shadow puppet workshop by Dadi Pudumjee and a cartooning workshop by Rohan Chakravarthy.

Lending unconditional support to the festival, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said: “The population of these majestic elephants is critically threatened by the increasing man-animal conflicts.”

“The Gaj Mahotsav is an important step in creating awareness for the same,” he added.

Stressing the urgent need to protect elephants, Wildlife Trust of India Executive Director and CEO Vivek Menon said, “In order to protect India’s rich biodiversity, it is imperative for each one of us to recognise that elephants need right of passage.”

India has a little over 27,000 wild Asian elephants, about 55 percent of the species’ estimated global population. Yet these natural nomads face an increasingly uncertain future in the country.

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