It’s amazing how easily one photograph can destroy our high opinion of ourselves.
While eggheads in the comforts of ivory towers are telling us how ‘civilized’ humanity has become, photographers in the real world are proving them wrong.
In India, a mother elephant and her calf are being chased by an angry mob.
Chased isn’t even the right word. They’re being terrorized.
Titled “Hell is Here” the graphic image, taken by local photographer Biplab Hazra, shows the two animals running for their lives from a crowd that had tossed flaming tar balls and crackers at them in a bid to scare them away from human settlements.
But the photo won an award, and brought worldwide attention to an issue few of us may have heard of.
Biplab Hazra’s photo won the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards, a competition held each year by environmental news magazine Sanctuary Asia.
Mr Hazra, a professional brick kiln owner, who counts wildlife photography as his passion, said the elephant calf and adult somehow survived the attack.
…It was common practice in the area to throw crackers and use fire to ward off elephants, Hazra told New Indian Express, but that it often further enraged the animals and led to further destruction.
“The calf may not have been intentionally set on fire by the villagers living in the vicinity of the elephant corridor that stretches from southwestern West Bengal up to Saranda forest in Jharkhand, but bursting crackers and throwing fireballs on elephant herds has been a common practice in this part of West Bengal,” he said.
Maybe we’re not quite as civilized as we give ourselves credit for.
There’s a huge difference between ethically hunting an animal, and setting it — and it’s young — on fire.