This campaign intends to connect our love for Sri Ganesha with the protection of wild elephant populations in India. While we continue to hold the tradition of Ganesh worship close to our hearts, we can also include the elephants in our prayers and our efforts to save these elephants can become part of our worship. Every year , this campaign connects with an NGO that is working on the ground to mitigate conflict between humans and elephants, and sends funds to support their work. In this way, we invite Ganesh devotees to make an offering to the living embodiment of Ganesha, the elephant.
For 2020, the Gajanana campaign will benefit the work being done by Nandita Hazarika on the Assam Haathi Project. This year, the severe floods in Assam have damaged both human and elephant populations, and the monies we raise will enable them to continue to protect these elephants. Read more about the details of the project below…
Elephants are fondly called the “Gentle Giants”. And rightly so, with their grey skin, somber eyes and slow gait elephants are truly the gentlest creatures to walk on this planet. India is blessed with about 50% of the world population of the Asian Elephant, Elephas maximus. This population is mainly concentrated in parts of South, North, Central and Northeast India. The elephant has been provided the highest possible protection under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India as a Schedule I species and also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Despite all these conservation measures, the survival of the Asian Elephant continues to be threatened by degradation of its natural habitat, poaching for its body parts and the human-elephant conflict.
Elephants in our country are closely associated to its cultural and religious traditions. And hence they are highly revered and considered sacred. Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed God is half elephant and half human, and embodies all the qualities of the elephant – his strength and his gentleness. He perfectly symbolises the coexistence of humans and elephants. We, at eCoexist, believe in the co-existence of all species on earth. We believe it is essential to stay connected to nature, giving back to the bountiful nature for its generosity. At eCoexist, we promote tracing back the origin of Indian festivals to its roots, i.e to nature.
One of our major projects is the Eco Ganesh Campaign where we promote the use of eco-friendly idols during Ganesh Chaturthi to mitigate the environmental impact that the immersion of the toxic Plaster of Paris idols have on our water bodies. Being based in Pune where Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with much grandeur, eCoexist for the past twelve years has been promoting the use of natural materials in such celebrations by producing beautiful eco-friendly idols made from natural clay, paper and cow dung; painted with turmeric, geroo and multani mitti. Today as people become more environmentally conscious, the demand for our idols in India as well as abroad has increased significantly. While the traditional worship of Ganesha continues and grows, the sad truth of a rapidly declining wild elephant population symbolising Ganesha stares at us.
In support of the Asian Elephant, eCoexist is launching the Gajanana Campaign to raise funds for its conservation in Northeast India. The Northeast is home to about 37% of India’s elephant population, concentrated primarily in Assam and few parts of Meghalaya. The tall grasslands and rich forests of Assam have long provided a safe haven for elephants to thrive. But today with growing human population, the expansion of agriculture and developmental activities, there is large scale fragmentation of elephant habitat and elephant corridors. More recently the COVID 19 crisis and the devastating floods in Assam have aggravated the situation. As a consequence, elephants increasingly venture into agricultural areas and human habitation in search of food and water. The man elephant conflict that follows these incursions puts the survival of elephants and the local communities at a high risk. To this effect, Assam based trust, Ecosystems-India is working together in villages of Assam to mitigate conflict through the community-based Assam Haathi Project.
The Asian elephant is endangered and needs urgent help. Any effort to protect elephant corridors, to prevent poaching and habitat destruction and assisting conflict affected people requires support from all quarters. Your contribution will go a long way for the survival of the Asian elephant. Please donate generously, your commitment will save these gentle giants from extinction. The money donated will be sent to the Assam Haathi Project and some of its partners, and will be used for community conservation efforts to save wild elephants in Assam.
Your funds will be specifically used to help reduce the conflict between human communities and elephants.