'Gaj Yatra' kicks off to raise awareness about wild elephants
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 16-Aug-2017

Mumbai, August 16: The 'Gaj Yatra' campaign aims to raise awareness about the shrinking space for wild elephants in the country. The campaign was launched by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi area and the function was presided over by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Mumbai.

“We must understand that our own existence is impossible without our wildlife and wild lands”, said the Union Railway Minister. “Elephants need to migrate over long distances and corridors are a must. This is a cause I will take a personal interest in.” 

The assembled Champions of Nature delivered their messages of support, urging people at large to “Join Our Herd and help secure Right of Passage for India’s elephants.”

“An effort would be made to install the models of elephants being carved out from waste material at prominent public places like Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhawan and at the Ministry's premises in Indira Paryavaran Bhawan”, the official release of Wildlife Trust of India said.

Over the next 15 months, artists and craftsmen will create life-size works on the theme of elephants in places along the route of the roadshow, covering 12 states that have wild elephants, using local art and craft.

India has about 30,000 wild elephants, 50% of the species’ estimated global population. Elephant corridors are vital natural habitat linkages that enable elephants and other wildlife to move through the degraded habitats lying between larger protected forests freely, without being disturbed by humans.

Wildlife Trust of India has been working with the Government of India’s Project Elephant, state forest departments, and national and global NGOs to secure and protect India’s 101 identified and mapped elephant corridors for over a decade through its Right of Passage project. It is hoped that the Gaj Yatra will help raise awareness about the plight of India’s National Heritage Animal, and build a groundswell of popular support for the securing of elephant corridors.