• Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Wildlife Trust of India has rolled out the ‘Gaj Yatra’ from Tura, the principle town of Garo Hills in Meghalaya. The event involves taking an elephant mascot across district frequented by jumbo herds for generating awareness among the people.
• The role of Nokmas, traditional custodians of the land, is important here in supporting the move towards co-existence between man and animal and helping conservationists for the success of the initiative.
==>About Gaj Yatra
• Gaj Yatra, a nationwide campaign to protect elephants, was launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day in 2017. The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states. The elephant is part of India’s animal heritage and the Government celebrates this day to spread awareness about the conservation of the species.
• The 15 months campaign will be led by the Wildlife Trust of India. The campaign aims to create awareness about the elephant corridors to encourage free movement in their habitat.
==>World Elephant Day
• World Elephant Day is an annual event celebrated across the world on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of elephants. The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness about the plight of elephants and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants.
• African elephants are listed as “vulnerable” and Asian elephants as “endangered” in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. As per the available population estimates, there are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants.
• World Elephant Day is celebrated to focus the attention of various stakeholders in supporting various conservation policies to help protect elephants, including improving enforcement policies to prevent illegal poaching and trade in ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing captive elephants into sanctuaries.