Kaziranga National Park to temporarily halt safaris for Annual Elephant Festival

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Jeep and elephant safaris at Assam’s Kaziranga National Park will remain closed for tourists for two days from April 6 in view of the Elephant Festival, which will be attended by President Droupadi Murmu, according to officials. A general notice issued by the Divisional Forest Officer, Eastern Assam Wildlife Division stated that, in pursuance of the Field Director Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Bokakhat office letter for ‘Gaj Utsav-2023’ dated March 23, the park closure notice issued dated March 22 has been modified in the interest of tourists.

The Gaj Festival commemorates the successful completion of 30 years of Project Elephant and to give more impetus to conservation efforts.(File photo)
The Gaj Festival commemorates the successful completion of 30 years of Project Elephant and to give more impetus to conservation efforts.(File photo)

However, the Jeep Safari will continue to remain open for tourists in Burapahar Range, Ghorakati and Eastern Range, Agoratoli. President Murmu is scheduled to visit Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve and will attend the two-day Elephant Festival that begins from April 6.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma chaired a meeting to review preparations. “Assam is looking forward to hosting President Droupadi Murmu who will be on a two-day visit beginning April 6. Chaired a meeting to review preparations,” Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.

The Gaj Festival, one of the largest elephant festivals in India is organized in Assam for the conservation and safeguard of Asiatic elephants. During a press briefing last month, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey announced that the Gaj Utsav 2023 celebrations aimed at rejoicing the nature-culture relationship in India would be inaugurated by the President on April 7.

The Gaj Festival commemorates the successful completion of 30 years of Project Elephant and to give more impetus to conservation efforts. In a press briefing last month, MoS Choubey had said, “The State of Assam holds the second largest wild elephant population in India and also has a large number of elephants that are under human care. Thus, it is fitting to celebrate Gaj Utsav 2023 at Kaziranga, Assam. India’s remarkable efforts towards conservation of biological resources under the umbrella of elephants would also be showcased during the Utsav.”

“Since people’s participation has given more impetus to conservation efforts, the Utsav is intended to bring together the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (EFF & CC), Chief Minister of Assam, Minister of State, EF&CC, Forest Ministers of all Elephant Range States, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Head of Forest Force (PCCF & HoFF), Chief Wildlife Wardens (CWLW), Infrastructure Departments, Local Communities, Civil Societies, NGO, school children, mahouts etc. to celebrate and to display the efforts taken by the Government and other stakeholders for conservation of elephants in the country”, added the Minister.

MoS Choubey said that as part of the Gaj Utsav celebrations and to spread the message of Conservation and protection of Elephants, various events and programmes such as walkathons, wildlife awareness rallies and nature camps for students and children, guided visits of school children to nearby Protected Areas/ Zoological Parks, painting & debate competitions etc., would be organized in all the Elephant Reserves in the country.

“The Ministry has been steering wildlife conservation to new heights. We are resolving many longstanding issues amicably while ensuring that conservation priorities are never compromised. We are embracing science and technology to improve wildlife management. At the same time, we are also hailing our hard-earned innate traditional knowledge on natural resource management”, MoS Choubey said. “India will always be a safe haven for elephants, for generations unborn to cherish our rich nature-culture relationship”, Choubey added.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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