The exhibition on elephants at C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre comes up with some known and unknown facts about the animal

Did you know that elephant calves suck their trunks like human babies suck their thumbs? Or that apart from trumpeting, adult elephants grunt, purr, bellow, and even whistle? Gentle giants take centre-stage at ‘The Elephant’, an exhibition organised by the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre.

The exhibition, divided into sections such as ‘Science’, ‘Management’, ‘Culture’ and ‘Ethics’, has informative elephant-related charts and newspaper clippings. The ‘Science’ section details the physical structure of elephants, their habits and ecological significance.

‘Management’ deals with one of the most important issues of the present time, the human-elephant conflict. Charts talk about the most destructive predators to elephants — human beings. Their habitats are being destroyed, their migratory paths are being encroached upon…what will the elephants do? Conflicts are bound to occur.

There is information on laws that protect elephants and conservation initiatives such as Project Elephant, a scheme sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to “provide financial and technical support to major elephant-bearing states”. Elephants have a special place in our art and culture; they are seen in our murals and sculptures and were even used as mounts in the battlefield. The ‘Culture’ section talks about this aspect of the animals. Charts take us through the symbolism of elephants in art and ancient coins with elephant motifs and show us how they are a “popular subject for artists.”

Displays under ‘Ethics’ address the condition of elephants in captivity. “Elephants are intrinsically unsuited for captivity. The fate of captive elephants is governed by the owners’ desire to make as much money from them as possible,” reads one. Majestic as they are, elephants in captivity are chained — temple elephants undergo untold suffering as a result of this. Many of them are not well-treated; imagine the fate of the animal in limited space as opposed to its life in wilderness. Circus elephants too are silent sufferers. They are trained to perform cruel acts that often are detrimental to their health.

‘The Elephant’ will be on from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. till November 1 at C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre Gallery, Eldams Road. Entry is free. For details, call 2433 7023.