Agra, Sep 22 (IANS) The annual Elephant Appreciation Day on Tuesday was observed with a grand buffet for the pachyderms at the Wildlife SOS hospital and facility on the Delhi-Agra national highway.
The celebrations kicked off at the Elephant Conservation & Care Centre with the NGO’s dedicated elephant caregivers and veterinarians chopping kilos of fruits and vegetables followed by carefully laying out the lavish spread on large tables for their resident pachyderms.
This year, two new members of the Wildlife SOS elephant family also joined the festivities – Karma & Zara.
Apart from Karma & Zara, some of the elephants present at the feast were Kalpana and Holly, who arrived at the Elephant Hospital for treatment last year, Asha, previously a riding elephant at Amer Fort, her companion Suzy, the blind elephant rescued from a circus, Maya, a former circus elephant and her companion Phoolkali, along with best friends Bijli, formerly a begging elephant walking the unforgiving streets of Agra, Chanchal the victim of a brutal highway accident & Laxmi, an obese begging elephant who was rescued from Mulund, Maharashtra.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Elephant Appreciation Day is not only a celebration of these majestic animals but also of our relentless supporters whose generosity has enabled us to provide these elephants with the best quality of life and also the love and care that they truly deserve. It was truly a delightful experience to watch the elephants enjoy this jumbo buffet.”
Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder & Secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “We quite enjoyed the euphoria reigning amidst the elephants due to the buffet. Their excited rumbles and trumpets could be heard all over the centre!”
Baiju Raj M.V, Director Conservation Projects, said, “This year’s buffet contained bucket-loads of seasonal fruits like melons, apples, watermelons along with pumpkins, corn and maize. Watching our resident elephants enjoy a peaceful retirement fills our heart with happiness.”
Wildlife SOS started working with elephants in 2010 with the aim of saving India’s elephants. Over the course of the last decade, they have been able to facilitate the rescue of over 30 elephants. Wildlife SOS also established India’s first Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, Mathura in 2010 as well as India’s first Elephant Hospital, Mathura in 2018 in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
At these facilities not only do distressed elephants get a second chance at life but visitors too are given educational tours to sensitize them about the conservation of elephants in India and the need to save this magnificent species.