Eastern India is rich in mineral resources and increased mining and industrial activity is encroaching on elephant habitat, in some cases driving them into human-inhabited areas, according to BBC News.
In the state of Orissa, fourteen-year-old Nirmala Toppo is becoming a local celebrity admired for her ability to communicate with elephants.
Ellen’s Good News reports, “She is known as ‘Lady Tarzan,’ [because she] speaks to the pachyderms in her local tribal dialect of Mundaari. She explains that because tribal people and the elephants (among other wild animals) have cohabited in the same area for ages, the elephants understand their language.”
Orissa’s mother was killed by wild elephants, and it was then that she decided to learn the technique to drive them away, says BBC. The stories of human aggression towards wild animals that enter cities and towns are numerous, and Orissa is a welcome example of using a peaceful response to deal with animal visitors. In many cases, humans have built upon the natural habitat of other animals, so the occasional bear near our garbage, or raccoon in the garage are things we must address humanely in order to show our respect for other creatures.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons