Elephants in India are wary of humans. Human trains are responsible for more than two dozen elephant deaths this year to date. Villagers often chase off elephants with torches, rocks, and, most disturbingly, fireballs.
Biplab Hazra has a front-line view of Human-Elephant Conflict in India, and he has captured much of it in his photographs. The once-amateur photographer has had a few of his shots go viral, because they captured frightening, alarming or tender moments at the nexus of human and elephant contact.
Hazra, who was profiled this week in Conde Nast Traveller India, has earned a number of photography plaudits, including Sanctuary Asia's Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2017. Hopefully, by putting a spotlight on the problem, he can help reduce conflict between the two species. It already seems to be working. After he published this image of an elephant attacked by a fireball, as Conde Nast Traveller India reports, "It triggered a massive outrage, following which the Supreme Court banned the use of fireballs and torches to keep elephants away."