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India is a land of diversity and culture. In its many religions and beliefs, India has great significance for elephants. From many eras, they have been a part of Indian culture and mythology. They are worshiped and considered to inherit godly aura. Serving them, feeding them and praying to them is supposed to be helping and praying to Lord Ganesha.
Lord Ganesha is Indian god of intellect and knowledge and the god of beginnings. His head is that of an elephant. That's why elephants are sacred in India. There are many temples devoted to elephants and Lord Ganesha. Many Indian villages and tribes worship elephants and have special rituals and beliefs to serve them. Keeping an elephant statue at home is associated with luck and prosperity.
Indian or Asian elephants are quite smaller in size than African elephants. They also differ from them in their body design. They are about 3 meters high and weighs up to 5000 Kgs. The largest. The Indian elephant is recorded to be 3.5 meters high.
They are distributed all over India. In Northwest, they are found from the foot of the Himalayas to the Yamuna river. In the Northeast, they can be located from the eastern border of Nepal in northern West Bengal through western Assam as far as the Mishmi Hills. In central India, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and some parts of West Bengal. And in the south, Karnataka, Kerela and the Western Ghats.
The primary habitat of Indian elephants is rainforests and grasslands. They are quiet and friendly animals. They are enlightened beings and have an excellent emotional quotient. They live in large herds and communicate with each other.
But in spite of them being sacred and considered a link to god, their population in India is decreasing fast. In the past century, their community is cut short to 50%. It is a huge problem and a threat to their existence.
The leading cause of their decreasing population is constant hunting and poaching by hunters and traders. They are hunted and killed for their teeth and bones. These are sold at high prices to make ivory, jewelry, and medicines. Their skin is used to make purse, jackets, rugs and such fancy accessories. Although it is illegal but Indian black market for elephant products witness transaction of crores. Even after application of concepts like protected forests and wildlife sanctuaries, elephant lives are still being taken, and the killers can escape. We need better plans and solutions to deal with this issue and ensure elephant safety.
The next reason is constant human interference and breach in the silent and peaceful world of elephants. Humans need more and more land and natural resources to meet the needs of their growing populations. So they overtake and hijack animal belongings, their property, food, and home. That is why the animals are forced to leave their house and settle somewhere else. It causes many of them to die as they cannot adapt to sudden change and new environment. Some die in the process of deforestation and mass forest removal. Also not getting appropriate food and water takes away their life. Elephants being huge animals need a settled environment and no significant change. So their population decreases fast due to human interaction and their doings.
We live in a world where no more animals will exist if we do not change our living and surviving instincts. Even though survival of the fittest is real, but humans believe in the survival of 'only' the fittest. We are selfish enough to keep our needs and priorities in front of the very existence of other beings. We forget that they too have life and need to eat, drink and stay at a place to survive. The day is near when we will be the only species living on the planet but that day will surely bring our doom. We cannot control nature. We need the support and existence of other .species to provide us food, get us resources to live and make our ecological balance working. If they die, so do us. And this is a fact. We need to change our way o living and come up with ideas and ways to save nature and its constituents. Indian elephants need us, its Indian citizens. For the sake of culture or humanity or our survival, whatsoever, we need to save these big herbivores.