President Droupadi Murmu on Friday inaugurated the Gaj Utsav at Assam's Kaziranga National Park, and said that the responsibility of man-elephant conflicts rests on the human society.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said, "Elephants have been most respected in our tradition. It has been considered a symbol of prosperity. It is the National Heritage Animal of India. Therefore, protecting elephants is an important part of our national responsibility to preserve our national heritage."
She said, "The Human-Elephant Conflict has been an issue for centuries and when we analyze this conflict, it is found that a barrier created in the natural habitat or movement of elephants is the root cause. Therefore, the responsibility of this conflict lies with human society."
She asserted that protecting elephants, conserving their natural habitats and keeping elephant corridors free from obstruction are the main objectives of Project Elephant. Solving the problems related to Human-Elephant Conflict is also the aim of this project.
The President said that Kaziranga and Manas National Parks of Assam are an invaluable heritage not only of India but of the whole world. That is why these have been given the status of 'World Heritage Site' by UNESCO.
"Assam has the second largest population of wild elephants in the country. Therefore, Kaziranga is a very apt place for organising the Gaj Utsav," Murmu said.
She emphasized that for the success of Project Elephant and Gaj Utsav, all the stakeholders would have to move forward together.
The President said that the 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 mentioned, "It can be said that all of us will be benefited by 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 in such efforts."
The President further said that elephants are considered as very intelligent and sensitive animals. They are also social animals like humans.
"We should have the same sense of sympathy and respect for elephants and other living beings as we have for humans. We can learn the feeling of selfless love from animals and birds," she added.
President Murmu mentioned that there is a very sacred relationship between nature and humanity and the culture of respecting nature has been the identity of India.