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19 Nov 2017, 08:45 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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    • Features
  • Elephants captivated for commerce, not culture: Docu dir
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  • In the span of the two years and a half during which Iyer made the film, she visited Kerala at least eight times to collect footage and collaborated it with scientific researches carried out by non-profit organisations like The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Location Centre, The Animal Welfare Board of India and The Asian Nature Conservation Foundation.

    According to her findings, out of the 40,000 Asian elephants from across the globe, India is home to at least 27,000 of them. She also points out that the country also has the largest number of captive elephants - 3,000 - who are used for various commercial purposes like tourism, culture and religion.

    "The government of India has to really pay attention. I believe it has a moral obligation to take care of India's heritage animal because what we have is a global treasure and we need to protect it," she says.

    The objective of the film, she says, is to awaken the masses and to empower them with knowledge so that they can take conscious action and demand that using elephants for any commercial purpose be stopped.

    "On one hand they worship Lord Ganesh and on the other they torture his very embodiment; they say it is about culture but really it is about commerce.

    "I also felt that there is a vast majority of people who are completely ignorant of the truth but there is also a group who are turning a blind eye wilfully and these are the people who need to be jolted and shaken up and that can be done only through public outcry," she says.

    The film also features a cell-phone clip from March 2015, that shows a temple elephant breaking loose and running amuck
    the residential areas in the city causing panic. Here, the nature and wildlife filmmaker argues that captivating elephants only results in a "lose-lose situation" where not only the animal is harmed but also people get into danger.

    "Overall it is neither good for people, nor is it good for people. It is such a lose-lose situation. This year alone there have been 12 elephant deaths and 9 human deaths.

    "What is the point of having these festivals and celebrations when people are getting killed, elephants are getting killed. They are running amuck causing damage to both life and property," she says.

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