Baby Elephant was injured. As it chases after its startled mother, screaming.
Scenes of the terrified animal fleeing from a mob throwing flaming tar balls won photographer Biplab Hazra.
With up to 300 people a year dying under the feet of Asian elephants across India, deadly incidents are almost a daily occurrence as the giant creatures lose their jungle haunts to humans.
Up to 50 elephants also die in the undeclared war.
Hazra has told how the baby elephant did not become another statistic.
Hazra says the baby elephant escaped its ordeal and has also revealed a surprising twist about the incident.
He says: “I had never seen such an incident in 14 years of my wildlife photography career.
“All my concentration was only on clicking the photograph.
How many elephant are killed every day?
100 Elephants Killed Per day. The U.N. says up to 100 elephants are being slaughtered a day in Africa by poachers taking part in the illegal ivory trade
“The calf may not have been 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.”
Hazra was speaking to the Indian media after receiving the accolade of Sanctuary Asia’s Wildlife Photographer.
Hazra’s experience is put into words as graphic as his image.
It reads: “The heat from the fire scorches their delicate skin as mother and child attempt to flee the mob.
“The cow’s expansive ears are angled forward as she ignores the crowd of jeering men.
Her calf screams in confusion and fear as the fire licks at her feet. Flaming tar balls and crackers fly through the air to a soundtrack of human laughter and shouts.” Such violent scenes made the picture a compelling winner for the top award, with Sanctuary Asia editor Anirudh Nair explaining: ” We wanted to raise awareness on the practice of violence against elephants in West Bengal and in other parts of the country.”
As the photograph becomes from India’s elephant conflict. One villager has given an explicit description. Sanctuary Asia Facebook page explains: “Our village is invaded by these wild. The way from Dalma range of forests. The fault of course lies with us.
How many species of elephants are there today?
It is estimated that there were once more than 350 species of elephants in the world. Today we only have two of them left . The African elephant is the largest of the two species left in the world
Because of heavy habitat destruction, in this case the forest, the elephants are coming down onto the settlements. This has been a great problem over the years. And, as the picture shows, these elephants have been subjected to terrible abuses and tortures.” He goes on to describe how people are hired to drive the elephants back into the jungle. They use strong and loud fire crackers, big and bright lights, harpoons, tin drums to make noises to scare them off, torches and bow and arrow.
“There is no controversy. That these poor creatures suffer greatly at our hands.” But the villager says the elephants also wreak havoc on the poor peasants driving farmers to suicide.
He adds: “The silver lining has built deep trenches along the perimeter. The electrified fence will not kill the elephants. But it is strong enough to repel them.”