Due to deforestation in India, many elephants are seen wandering through villages and communities. Numerous animals in India are forced to enter human habitats in search of food and shelter and eventually wander between villages and grain fields in search of a new home. Some people take extreme measures to prevent these animals from damaging their property.
The following photos capture the moment angry residents of Bishnupur threw firebombs at a mother elephant and her calf on their way to prevent them from getting too close to their crops.
The photos show villagers throwing stones at the herd that roams through their village. Young people often photograph wild elephants to capture such incidents, and the photos show mother and her child trying to navigate the railway tracks constructed through their natural home. They run across the street in fear.
This heartbreaking image was taken by photographer Biplab Hazra, whose aim is to raise awareness of the condition of elephants and their endangered habitat. The photo underscores the extraordinary level of violence elephants face as they try to survive in a small, fragmented habitat.
According to Independent:
“The images highlight the extraordinary level of violence the endangered species faces as they try to survive in smaller, more fragmented habitats. Herds of elephants can cause significant damage to crops, impacting people’s livelihoods. Some farmers use flaming torches to frighten elephants away from inhabited areas.”
Mr. Hazra states:
“This happens because the villagers have to save their crops. There are many elephant corridors in human habitations. I’m trying to show this and spread my photos to increase public awareness on the matter.”
The final image shows an angry elephant chasing people through farmland while walking knee-deep in water on a high crop.
Elephants need to spend up to 19 hours a day feeding, and produce about 220 pounds (100kg) of dung a day. The villagers are doing their best to drive away elephants, as this manure is the most important means of spreading and germinating seeds and is crucial for maintaining the integrity of forests and grassland. I have tried to show this in the photos below to raise public awareness of the issue.
This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible, as the number of Indian elephants has declined in recent decades.