Moon Moon ropes in Belinda Wright to tackle human-elephant conflict

Kolkata, Actor-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen, a first time parliamentarian, Saturday said she has consulted noted animal conservationist Belinda Wright to help resolve the human-elephant conflict in the forested stretches of West Bengal.

The Trinamool Congress MP, elected from Bankura constituency, said she met Wright during her recent Delhi visit for the first session of the 16th Lok Sabha earlier this month and apprised her of the situation in Bengal's Purulia district.

"Belinda told me she would love to help and that she can help... that she has positive ideas and solutions for looking after elephants because their food is being taken away by villagers...they are cutting down the trees to make houses in Purulia..." she told reporters here.

Sen spoke to animal advocates and NGOs at the 'Train-the-Trainer' workshop instituted by Humane Society International India in collaboration with Animal Welfare Board of India and Cape Foundation, Kolkata.

The participants received intensive training on animal welfare laws and the Indian criminal justice system at the workshop.

"I went to buy some shakhas (bangles) in Purulia and saw there are etchings of elephants. They (villagers) told me that there are elephants in Purulia and they come and destroy villages for mohua (locally-brewed nectar) and if they don't get it the next day they are even more destructive," said Sen, adding she is reading up on the subject.

Discussing her projects, Sen revealed she would also look into the problems of acid attack victims.

"There's also acid attack victims...that has been brought forward to me by a lot of doctors who do a lot of reconstructions and they tell me its not only just the face...its done on other parts of the body," she said.

For the most part, Sen said her job is to "listen to appeals so that I can publicise the issues in parliament if I get a chance to."

"There are so many of us there...if I can ask all the other MPs to join me...there are certain people in the opposition who are Maneka Gandhi...then I am sure they will take these causes up," she said, pointing out she would look to her party first for solutions.

Sen pulled off a major upset in her poll debut in this year's Lok Sabha election by defeating nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in Bankura. She triumphed by 97,511 votes over Acharia, who had been winning from the seat without a break since 1980.

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