A zoo in Bhubaneshwar today celebrated the 'Elephant Day', to spread awareness about the pachyderms.
The elephants in the Nandankanan zoo were decked up for the event, which falls during the Wildlife Week that is observed in the first week of October annually.
Several students flocked the zoo to participate in the celebrations. Students had lots of fun with learning about the jumbos.
Abhishek, another student, said: "We saw elephants and played with them. They looked really beautiful."
Orissa has nearly 1,900 elephants in its forests, which are home to the largest number of elephants in the country.
However, due to the shrinking habitat, the animal crosses over to the human settlements and often comes into conflict with man.
"But, a very heartening thing is that Orissa elephant population has got a very healthy ratio of male and female, which is the highest in the country. But, at the same time, the Orissa forests are prone to problems of illicit poaching. So, we have got a mounting task, the forest department as well as the local public, to save the animal," said Ajit Patnaik, Director of the Nandankanan Zoo.
At least 151 elephants were poached in the State between 1991-2001, while another 125 died of natural reasons or epidemics.
The Union Environment and Forest Ministry had drawn up "Project Elephant" to conserve the Asiatic elephant population in the country.
Home to 50,000 elephants a century ago, India now has just a little over 21,000 elephants.