President inaugurates Gaj Utsav at Kaziranga, feeds elephants
The forests and green areas of elephant reserves are very effective carbon sinks, she said.
GUWAHATI: President Droupadi Murmu, who inaugurated the Gaj Utsav-2023 at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Friday, took a jeep safari and fed elephants.
She saw animals including one-horned rhinos, wild buffaloes, deer and birds, officials said.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Gaj Utsav, the President highlighted the sacred relationship between nature and humanity.
“The culture of respecting nature has been the identity of our country. In India, nature and culture have been linked to each other and have been receiving nourishment from each other,” Murmu said.
“Elephants have been the most respected in our tradition. They have been considered a symbol of prosperity. The elephant is the national heritage animal of India. Therefore, protecting elephants is an important part of our national responsibility to preserve our national heritage,” the President said.
She said actions, which are in the interest of nature, animals and birds, are also in the interest of humanity and Mother Earth. The forests and green areas of elephant reserves are very effective carbon sinks, she said.
“All of us will be benefited from the conservation of elephants and it will also help in facing the challenges of climate change. Participation of society along with the government is necessary for such efforts,” Murmu said.
The President said the human-elephant conflict has been an issue for centuries. It is found that a barrier created in the natural habitat or movement of elephants is the root cause of the conflict, she said.
She noted that protecting elephants, conserving their natural habitats and keeping elephant corridors free from obstruction are the main objectives of Project Elephant. She said solving the problems related to the conflict is also the aim of this project.
The President said Assam’s Kaziranga and Manas National Parks are invaluable heritage not only of India but of the whole world.
Noting that Assam has the second largest population of wild elephants in the country, she said it was apt that the Gaj Utsav was organised at Kaziranga. The event marked 30 years of Project Elephant.
Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Bhupendra Yadav were among the dignitaries who attended the event.