Photo of Burning Baby Elephant Wins Wildlife Photo Contest

"Hell Is Here" is the title of Biplab Hazra's photograph of a burning elephant calf that got him this year's Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Award from Sanctuaryasia.com, which describes itself as India's leading nature and wildlife conservation portal.

The picture was taken in the Bankura district of West Bengal, a state in eastern India. According to Sanctuary Asia, "This sort of humiliation is routine, as it is in the other elephant-range states of Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu. India is the world’s stronghold for the Asian elephant and boasts over 70 percent of the global population of the species."

With around one elephant per every four square miles in West Bengal, clashes with the human population are a frequent occurrence. 

Further, Sanctuary elaborates on the issue: "The ignorance and bloodlust of mobs that attack herds for fun is compounded by the plight of those that actually suffer damage to land, life, and property by wandering elephants and the utter indifference of the central and state government to recognize the crisis that is at hand. For these smart, gentle, social animals who have roamed the sub-continent for centuries, hell is now and here."

Photo by Biplab Hazra 

[via Sanctuaryasia]

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52 Comments

Gary Randall's picture

Humans suck.

Anonymous's picture

The beginning of prejudice.

Anonymous's picture

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Anonymous's picture

"wonderfully spirited wacky hi-jinks"? I'm confused.

Edit: Oh. I get it now. A sarcastic commentary on PC culture, right? Sorry. I'm a bit slow.

ron fya's picture

So maybe there are times where a sentence like "those who did that should be burned as well" is applicable despite not being quite ethical.

Anonymous's picture

If you get a chance, watch "The Legend of Tarzan" (2016). There's a relevant sub plot.

Anonymous's picture

It's easy to feel that way but try to resist. I wouldn't want the United States to be judged by the actions of a few idiots and wouldn't do that to any other country.

Anonymous's picture

Oh yeah? Like what? I'm kinda torn on it. There are things and places I'd love to see. My best friend, in my childhood, was 100% Indian. His father was from India and his mother was an American Indian. :-)
On the other hand, there are things he told me that don't sound particularly attractive and there are so many other places higher on my list to visit.
I wouldn't rule it out.

Deleted Account's picture

Sounds like the United States ;)

Deleted Account's picture

You been to L.A. much? How does your comment not ring as much ignorance?

Deleted Account's picture

So there's no corruption, poverty, or dirty places in the United States? jeez my mistake. It's been great all along and we didn't need to make it great again?

Deleted Account's picture

Maybe you should read mor carefully.

Anonymous's picture

:-)

Elan Govan's picture

No worries Bob, I am sure the Indians are not losing sleepless night worried sick that you will not be visiting India. There has been two mass killing and here we are rubbishing another country. I am not anti American, just anti stupid human being. The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1630, a good 100 odd years before large part of North America became the USA. Please don't add to existing pompous views here.

Having said this, animal cruelty exist in all countries...including the United Kingdom. Reality is, stupid people do even more stupid things regardless of nationality. Just like the recent mass shooting in the US.

Asiatic cheetah in India was declared extinct in India; it is the only animal in recorded history to become extinct from India due to unnatural causes. All thanks to the British.

Anonymous's picture

I think you're painting the entire country with a very broad brush. From my understanding, there are very distinct, disparate regions.

Anonymous's picture

To be honest, I haven't really researched India at all. As I said, it's pretty low on my list of places to go. My only experience with border cops is, going to Canada. The American was a bit heavy handed but I always attribute any encounter to the individual and whatever may be going on in their life at the time. Not that I'm excusing them. There's justice and then there's mercy.

Frank Cardoze's picture

Horrible.

Dan Ostergren's picture

The poor thing. Absolutely awful.

Deleted Account's picture

Powerful image. I find it hard not to feel angry when I see it. Elephants are smart and I wonder if these clashes only add to why elephants are attacking people. They're defending themselves.

Ram Ramkumar's picture

The habitat of elephants (and many other animals) is being encroached upon, their regular food/fodder is becoming scarce and it is only natural that they then get into villages in search of food. It is sad to see the increasing conflict between man and beast and the resultant destruction of wildlife.

Anonymous's picture

How would you solve overpopulation? I can imagine telling someone, "I know you're poor, hungry and can't read but you're going to have to stop f*****g too." :-/

Anonymous's picture

I read the comments to my dog and he tells me how to reply. :-)

Anonymous's picture

It is simply inaccurate to state that climate change proponents avoid the issue of overpopulation and it's possible effects on the environment. The UN, the Sierra Club, The Worldwatch Institute, Postcarbon, and at least dozens of medical and scientific journal articles and reports have all discussed the possibility of population growth as a significant variable of climate change. Their statements have been reported in major national and international news agencies for years.

These aren't "exceptions" I needed to "dig up". For anyone willing to listen, these facts are easily found. That "climate change proponents never address that core problem" and "there is deafening silence" on the issue is false.

Anonymous's picture

From your earlier posts:

"climate change proponents never address that core problem [of overpopulation]"

"The most important factor, overpopulation, is clearly avoided."

These are objectively false statements, easily disproven.

Anonymous's picture

It's illogical to address any subsequent lines of thought that are based on objectionably false original statements. I'm dealing in fact and accuracy here.

And resorting to ad hominem attacks by calling me cynical and obsessed? Focus on the message, not the messenger.

Anonymous's picture

A lot of accusations here. Shame. Sorry to have upset you so much. I thought we could have a mature dialogue based on facts and the truth. But I won’t bother you if you don’t want to engage with me anymore.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not following. What are you trying to say? And why the "gay lisp" remark?

Anonymous's picture

The most objectionable part of your post is the fact you made me think of Paris Hilton! Now I got the joke, lol. Thanks.

In regards to climate change: we're going to have to let the future decide if it's a problem or not. I'll ask this of you, William, since I've seen you be fair an open-minded in other posts:

Try to divorce the scientific from the political. By this I mean that the politics of climate change (how much we should combat the issue...if at all, whether we are able to affect positive change, how Americans respond internationally, how policies may affect jobs in coal and fossil fuels, etc.) are separate from the data. Politicians and policy makers will have their own agenda and bias that you may personally disagree with.

The overwhelming majority of the scientific community, however, basing their conclusions on decades of data and thousands of studies (including the most current exhaustive study here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov), have all concluded that climate change exists, humans are at least partially responsible, and it will have serve effects on civilization. Again, whether or not you see this as a problem that governments can or should combat is your opinion. But the data don't lie.

Anonymous's picture

OK I reread your comment and if I'm reading it right, you're saying that some influential people changed the name, correct? I'm not an expert, but I did look it up. The two terms are not interchangeable, even if they have been so in the public dialogue. "Climate Change" refers to the overall changes to the earth's weather patterns. "Global Warming" refers only to the rise of global temperatures. So global warming is a component of climate change, which is the catch-all term.

Interestingly enough, in the scientific community it seems that "climate change" is an older term than "global warming".

Deleted Account's picture

We could invite them to come here! There's space.

Anonymous's picture

The people or the elephants? I'll take a baby elephant and you can take in as many people as you like. :-)

ron wilson's picture

The photographer should be the one that's burning.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Why?

Anonymous's picture

Presumably for taking a photo but not doing anything to stop it or help the elephants. :-/

Marius Pettersen's picture

Yeah, but so is the life of so many photographers. They can't get involved in any other means than to document happenings.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not defending Ron's statement but, if I were there, taking a photo would have been the last thought on my mind. Trying to help the elephants would have been first. It reminds me of an incident, a few years ago, when someone fell or was pushed (I forget) in front of a subway train and someone took a picture of them trying to get out. I'm not judging anyone else. I just know how I will react to things.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Sure, and that's the natural thing to feel (I hope), but it really depends on what the photographer is used to seeing. Like if he's a random bystander or if he's there for the documentation. On another note, how would one help in this situation? Giant animal on fire wouldn't let anybody come close. I'd guess you'd need a hose with a decent range on the spray. (I do not want to portray as cold, I love animals)

Anonymous's picture

I would douse it with all the cold water you're throwing on my idealism! :-)

Marius Pettersen's picture

Hehe, sounds good. :-)

Pink Ninja's picture

nobody, nothing should be burning. How can you say such a thing.

Poor baby elephant. Conditions must be despicable inside the responsible human being's head.

David Crossley's picture

We ought to be better than this.

Anonymous's picture

"We"?

David Crossley's picture

Mankind

Anonymous's picture

Isn't lumping everyone in a group, together, prejudice?

David Crossley's picture

Mankind is complicit if they fail to make the perpetrators accountable.

David Crossley's picture

Much over 2 decades of working towards improving animal rights, yourself?

David Crossley's picture

follow the bouncing ball Bob Brady, were discussing people torturing elephants with flaming tar balls. now, once again, what have you done?

David Crossley's picture

That's a relief (seeing as your adamant about not visiting there).

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

This is extremely sad to see

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