Gentle giants of Gudalur, southern India feast on garbage which includes deadly plastic waste.
THESE heartbreaking photos show hungry elephants rummaging through steaming piles of garbage in a southern Indian dump.
The pics show the gentle giants forced to feast on rubbish in the town of Gudalur, Tamil Nadu, where 19 tons of waste is dumped every day.
Despite the plentiful vegetation in nearby woods – the animals’ huge trunks cannot resist the stench of the dumping ground.
Local authorities deposit a massive 19 tons of waste, generated by the town’s 50,000 residents, in the four acre plot every day.
The dump yard is close to Mudumalai forest which is home to the group of elephants.
Sightings of the huge beasts are so common in the area that drivers often see them walking along the road side.
The elephants even anticipate when the garbage trucks arrive at the dump – which is around eight times a day.
However, there have been reports of the huge animals dying from ingesting plastic from the site.
In 2014, an elephant was found dead with around two kilograms of plastic waste stuck in its bowels in a forest clearing in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala in the south of the country.
Conservationists say dumping urban waste in elephant areas poses a grave danger to the beasts.
Sadiq Ali, the founder of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT), said: “It’s a life threatening issue.
“There is a high chance of diseases spreading to the wild elephants.”
The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has written to the town stating that the dump is located in a notified forest area.
Authorities have proposed to erect solar fencing around the garbage dump with the help of charities.
Environmentalists have also approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT), India’s court for green issues, to rein in the local authority.
The town originally started dumping the waste following an NGT order which banned disposing of the garbage in the nearby areas of Thorapalli and Chelukkadi.
The story was exclusively published in The Sun.