GAUHATI, India (AP) — With Rwanda off her charity calendar, Paris Hilton has turned her attention to the plight of ... drunken elephants in India.
“The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them,” the 26-year-old socialite was quoted as saying by the World Entertainment News Network’s Web site.
In the wake of her jail term for an alcohol-related reckless driving case, Hilton is seeking to remake her image from club-hopping party girl to world-traveling do-gooder. She announced plans to do charity work in Rwanda, but the trip was postponed until next year.
Then opportunity for Hilton’s “global elephant campaign” knocked last month when six parched pachyderms broke into a farm in the state of Meghalaya and guzzled farmers’ homemade rice beer. The elephants went on a rampage, then uprooted an electricity pole and were jolted to death.
“There would have been more casualties if the villagers hadn’t chased them away. And four elephants died in a similar way three years ago. It is just so sad,” Hilton was quoted as saying in last week in Tokyo, where she was judging a beauty contest.
Sangeeta Goswami, head of animal rights group People for Animals, told The Associated Press: “I am indeed happy Hilton has taken note of recent incidents of wild elephants in northeast India going berserk.”
“As part of her global elephant campaign, Hilton should, in fact, think of visiting this region literally infested with elephants,” Goswami said.
Hilton’s publicist couldn’t immediately be reached Tuesday to verify her comments. Another conservationist said elephant alcohol abuse was just a symptom of the real problem. (No, he wasn’t talking about celebrities.)
“Elephants appear on human settlements ... because they have no habitat left due to wanton destruction of forests,” said Soumyadeep Dutta, who heads Nature’s Beckon, a leading regional conservation group. “A celebrity like Hilton must focus her attention on this fact.”
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