President of India, Droupadi Murmu, inaugurated Gaj Utsav-2023 at Kaziranga National Park.
Addressing the gathering in Kaziranga, the President highlighted the sacred relationship between nature and humanity, which has been a part of India's identity.
She emphasized the importance of respecting nature and culture, which have nourished each other in India.
Droupadi Murmu said, "Elephants hold a significant place in Indian tradition as a symbol of prosperity and are considered the National Heritage Animal of India. Therefore, protecting them is crucial for preserving our national heritage."
The President also pointed out that actions taken for the benefit of nature, animals, and birds are ultimately in the interest of humanity and Mother Earth. The forests and green areas in Elephant Reserves act as effective carbon sinks, and their conservation can help us address climate change. Both the government and society must work together to achieve this goal.
Murmu further spoke about the intelligence and sensitivity of elephants and how they are social animals like humans. Therefore, she urged people to have the same empathy and respect for animals and birds as they have for humans. She emphasized that we can learn selfless love from animals and birds.
The President acknowledged that Human-Elephant Conflict has been an issue for centuries, and the root cause is often a barrier created in the natural habitat or movement of elephants.
She held human society responsible for this conflict and highlighted the objectives of Project Elephant, which aim to protect elephants, conserve their natural habitats, and keep elephant corridors free from obstruction. The project also seeks to solve problems related to Human-Elephant Conflict.
Lastly, the President praised Kaziranga and Manas National Parks in Assam, which are invaluable heritage not just for India but for the entire world.
Assam has the second largest population of wild elephants in the country, making Kaziranga an ideal location for organizing Gaj-Utsav. The President stressed that all stakeholders must work together for the success of Project Elephant and Gaj-Utsav.
Thereafter, Murmu headed towards Guwahati to attend the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Gauhati High Court.