In a shockingly cruel viral photo, a violent mob in West Bengal, India hurls firecrackers and flaming tar balls at a terrified mother and baby elephant as fire from the attack scorches the animals' skin. The "calf screams in confusion and fear as the fire licks at her feet...to a soundtrack of human laughter and shouts," says the description.
The photo -- taken by Biplab Hazra, and recent winner of the Sanctuary Wildlife’s Photography Awards -- illustrates the sickening treatment that far too many of these gentle animals face in conflicts between elephants and humans. And the forest department tasked with protecting the elephants is failing miserably.
As humans compete with elephants for land, the conflict is only growing worse. Such cruelty to elephants is commonplace in areas like West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and others. Sometimes the attacks are revenge for elephants damaging property or killing people as humans encroach on their shrinking territory. Other times, mobs attack the elephants out of "ignorance and bloodlust."
Sign the petition urging the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to investigate the incident in the photo, protect India's elephants from such vicious attacks, and immediately enact a strategy to end the deadly human-elephant conflict that plagues the nation.