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Mementos for Trudeau family

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his son Hadrien feeds an elephant at an elephant sanctuary in Mathura.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his son Hadrien feeds an elephant at an elephant sanctuary in Mathura.  

The gifts include Padhchinh, an elephant footprint painting

A footprint of a rescued working elephant on canvas, representing the rescue and rehabilitation work being done with these animals in India, was among the gifts presented to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family during their recent trip to India.

“Mr. Trudeau visited the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura with his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their children, Adrian, Xavier and Ella, who were most excited to learn about the rescued elephants and the organisation’s efforts to conserve elephants in India,” said Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan.

Caring for elephants

He said the family spent quality time observing the veterinarians at the centre providing treatment and care to the rescued elephants and learning about the status of Asian elephants in India. “They also fed bananas, sugar cane and watermelon to the rescued elephants Laxmi, Phoolkali and Maya,” he said.

Mr. Satyanarayan said that at the end of the visit, the family was presented an elephant footprint painting, Padhchinh, of Phoolkali along with a portrait of the majestic elephant.

The Padhchinh is a unique series of artwork, born out of the collaboration of Singapore-based gifted artist Alpana Ahuja and the rescued elephants at Wildlife SOS, India.

Translating into “footprint” in Sanskrit, Padhchinh symbolizes the elephants’ march towards a safer future.

Perseverance is the key

The first collection of Padhchinh paintings was unveiled in December 2013.

Each footprint continues to be taken with tremendous patience, subject entirely to the elephant’s decision to participate in the process and largely influenced by bananas and other treats.

The photo of Phoolkali was taken by Mumbai-based photographer Himanshuu Sheth.

Phoolkali, who was blinded by her owners and used for begging on the streets, was rescued from Uttar Pradesh in 2012. Years of abuse and neglect had left her with terribly worn-out footpads and overgrown cuticles, which made it extremely difficult for her to walk or even stand.

As part of her ongoing veterinary treatment, Phoolkali is given regular medicated foot soaks and her overgrown cuticles and footpads are trimmed and treated.

For a greater cause

Ms. Ahuja said: “It is a huge honour for me that a piece of art that I helped create with Phoolkali to support Wildlife SOS has a pride of place n the Canadian Prime Minister’s home. I hope that the message of elephant conservation travels along with the art to Canada and more people from his country will support the wonderful work of Wildlife SOS to help protect elephants in India.”

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 9:49:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mementos-for-trudeau-family/article22846848.ece

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