A Premiere Daily Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that are just too impactful to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to experience again. They may surprise you, make you smile, or even shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little extra to your day.
You may have seen the harrowing images of two elephants escaping a firefight. The sad part? Those balls of fire are being hurled toward them.
The heartbreaking event occurred in 2019 in the Indian village of Bishnupur in West Bengal. As reported by the Independent, a group of men began attacking the elephants because they had damaged villagers’ crops. (1)
Historically, India has revered the elephant. Sadly, however, increasing rates of deforestation are causing many to leave their habitat and come into conflict with humans.
But as elephants — an endangered species — find themselves trying to survive with less and less natural habitat, their conflict with humans is ever-increasing.
Biplab Hazra, a photographer who managed to capture some photographs of the incident, told Caters News Agency: (2)
“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.”
Facts about the Indian elephant
Indian elephants, according to the World Wildlife Fund, (3) feed on grasses (mostly), tree bark, roots, leaves, and small stems. They also sometimes eat bananas, rice, and sugarcane.
They feed for about 19 hours per day and produce up to 220 pounds of dung in the same amount of time.
Why does this matter?
As Indian elephants wander an average of 125 square miles per day, the dung they produce helps disperse germinating seeds.
Ironically, humans are attacking the very animal that can play a crucial role in their crop production.
Another reason why preserving their species is that Indian elephants help maintain the forests’ and grassland habitats’ integrity.
Currently, there are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Indian elephants left. In combination with attacks like the one above, illegal encroachment into protected areas for the sake of developments (e.g., roads and commercial establishments) are leaving them without: