THE GAJ YATRA GETS GOING
The Gaj Yatra, a mega-campaign by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India's wild elephants and the importance of securing elephant corridors, got underway with a launch event on World Elephant Day, August 12, 2017.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The Gaj Yatra was launched as part of a World Elephant Day celebration hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi. The event began with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the Hon'ble Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and WTI Brand Ambassador Ms Dia Mirza.
CORRIDORS AS SOLUTIONS
Mr Vivek Menon, WTI's Executive Director & CEO, made a presentation about the current status of elephant corridors in the country and the importance of securing these vital habitat linkages in order to safeguard the future of India's wild elephants.
RIGHT OF PASSAGE
The 2nd edition of the book Right of Passage: Elephant Corridors of India, was released during the event. Published by WTI and the UK-based charity Elephant Family, this publication is a comprehensive listing of India's 101 elephant corridors as identified and mapped by elephant experts in consultation with all state forest departments that are part of elephant range in the country.
A YATRA BEGINS
The Gaj Yatra was formally launched with the unveiling of an elephant-themed art installation. The Gaj Yatra is the biggest event ever planned around India’s wild elephants. It will take the form of a roadshow that will move through 12 elephant range states over the next 15 months, with elephant-sized artworks created by local artists and craftsmen as the centrepiece.
The Gaj Yatra's mascot Gaju was introduced to the attendees. Establishing a groundswell of popular support for elephants and corridors is the campaign's major objective. Gaj Mahotsavs will be organised at different venues along the way, with concerts, parades, street plays and activities for children in particular.
A SYMBOLIC WALK
As the event came to a close, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Mr Vivek Menon and Ms Dia Mirza took a walk with the children. The Gaj Yatra next moves to Mumbai, where it will be launched at the Shri Siddhivinayak Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha.