|Wildlife SOS – Elephant Conservation and Care Center|
We wanted to see if conservation work for elephants was as romantic as they had shown in the movie, so we boarded a train to Mathura and convinced an autorikshaw driver to take us to Wildlife SOS – Elephant Conservation and Care Center. Putting our collective trust on Google maps, we drove 35 km from Mathura railway station onto NH2, took a left turn from Sachdeva Institute of Technology in Thurmura Ghari and bumped our way into the centre. We all dropped down shakily, asked the driver to wait for us and followed our tour guide/education officer – Mr. N Vijay Varma who marched us towards a lobby where we were introduced to the concept of the sanctuary. We couldn’t stop our tears when a documentary on the horrors inflicted on the elephants was shown to us. Mr. Varma told us that the center, after opening in 2010 in Mathura, was primarily focused on the rescue and rehabilitation of pachyderms previously used in circuses – made to ride bicycles, tourism – to carry royalty as well as tourists and temples – as mounts of god who grant blessings when you feed them. It all starts with ‘Phajaan’- a brutal technique to break down wild baby elephants to perform on their handlers’ commands without revolt.
|Mr. N Vijay Varma explaining the use of the means of torture|
|Maya and Phoolkali|