Last year, I visited the southern corner of the country, of what is known as the ‘Scotland of India.’ This was exciting on several levels, given that it was my first visit to a hill station in South India. One of the things that excited me, apart from the beautiful flora and fauna and the sensuous aroma of coffee off-course, was the ‘Elephant Camp’, situated at the banks of the rigorously flowing Kaveri river. Known as the ‘Dubare Elephant Camp‘, this camp is a conservation project undertaken by Jungle Lodges in association with the Karnataka Government.
While credit cannot be taken away from Jungle Lodges for coming up with an innovative idea to create this preservation park, the elephants still do look like nobody’s ownership. They are being utilized to offer one-odd ride for the tourists coming to Coorg, but really don’t seem to hold any value to anybody.
If you take a single look at the articles overflowing on the internet, there’s a curiosity that will be built up in your mind. That’s what exactly happened with me. Bathing elephants, feeding them, a date with an elephant looks all so enticing to the regular city dweller drowning in an endless sea of white documents, inked with ant-like black blocks of dry, unrelated data. But what I saw upon my arrival at the camp, broke my heart. It felt as if a knife cut through my body, leaving me with profuse wounds and tears in my eyes. Huge giants, chained and beaten around with sticks. Filth all around, the elephants look unkempt with only dry grass to chew on. The giants looked sad, depressed and caught up in the a web of human disregard, struggling to keep pace with the boundaries of credulities. My heart sank and the images I captured can’t even highlight the plight of these beautiful creations of god.
I have a little request to all you animal lovers out there. Let’s awaken our consciousness. Let’s treat other living beings as our co-habitats if not equals and let’s reflect on the way we conduct ourselves. Nature doesn’t need us. We need nature.
The unhappy elephant
Can the wild be tamed?