Objective of Kaziranga Elephant Festival
The forests of northeast India shelters about 7,500 elephants which constitutes about half of the whole country's elephant population. However, recently, conflicts between the man and animals have surfaced in a frequent manner. Due to the exploitation of natural resources by man, the animals are encountering a lack of habitat and food which is forcing them to raid the nearby villages for food. Over utilization of natural resources by man has greatly reduced the space between man and nature causing troubles for the animals dwelling in natural habitats. Thus this festival illuminates the nature and habits of these animals encouraging people to live in peace and harmony with them. Another objective of Kaziranga Elephant Festival is the augmentation of eco tourism in this region. Through eco tourism awareness is created among the people about the deteriorating condition of the elephants owing to the limited or depleting natural resources. The festival also showcases the rich natural heritage of Kaziranga National Park.
Editions of Kaziranga Elephant Festival
The year 2003 marks the commencement of this exotic festival. In the first edition of the event about 300 elephants were involved in the festival and health information was collected of about 211 of them. However, the following years witnessed a steep decline in the number of elephants which were brought to the camps during the festival. The number reduced to 52 in the year 2004 and 42 in 2005. In the year 2003, decision was taken by the government of Assam to start the micro-chipping of the captive elephants. Known as 'Project Elephant', this proposal of implanting microchips in the elephants was put forward in 2002.
Features of Kaziranga Elephant Festival
Gathering of of such a large number elephants performing various amusing activities forms an unforgettable experience at Kaziranga Elephant Festival. Extensive grooming of the elephants is done for the festival and in the event, rows of elephants are seen cat-walking before the spellbound audience. Numerous Asiatic elephants participating in the festival are embellished beautifully. Activities like dancing, parade, football and races by the elephants are treat for the eyes. It also offers a wonderful experience of watching how the elephants follow the instructions of their masters obediently. People and cultural troops associated with wildlife hails from all around the country to participate in this unique festival.