Elephant replicas installed at Elliot’s beach to create awareness on wildlife conservation

The replicas are made out of lantana camara, an invasive weed known to deter the growth of other trees and plants in forests

Published - January 14, 2023 12:38 am IST - CHENNAI

Minister of Forests M. Mathiventhan inaugurating an installation of elephants made out of an invasive weed species removed from forests.

Minister of Forests M. Mathiventhan inaugurating an installation of elephants made out of an invasive weed species removed from forests. | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

M. Mathiventhan, Minister of Forests, on Friday inaugurated an installation of elephant replicas at Edward Elliot’s beach to create awareness among the public about protection of wild animals.

The elephant replicas are made out of lantana camara, an invasive weed known to deter the growth of other trees and plants in forests. Over the last seven months, the weed was removed from 1000 hectares of forests across the state, said Mr. Mathiventhan.

The exhibition has been set up to signify the importance of conservation and co-existence, said Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary Environment, Climate Change and Forests. Highlighting that coexistence is an important aspect of wildlife conservation and preserving biodiversity, Ms. Sahu said, “When we talk about coexistence, it’s also about sharing our planet with every living being and giving them their rightful share.”

Ms. Sahu said one of the purposes of the exhibition is empowerment of local communities. The eleven elephants, which are replicas of living animals, were made by 70 tribals part of The Shola Trust, a non-profit organisation in Gudalur. “Each elephant takes about six weeks to make,” said Ms. Sahu.

The reason it was brought to Chennai is for people, and especially children, living in urban areas to understand wildlife conservation in a better way, Ms. Sahu said.

Subrat Mohaptra, Head of Forest Force, Sudhanshu Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Srinivas Reddy, Chief Conservator of Forests, E. Prashanth, Chennai Wildlife Warden, British Government Deputy Consul Oliver Balaset and his family also attended the event.

The exhibition will be on till January 19, 2023.

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