Agra, Oct 1 (IANS): Miss Universe Great Britain 2022, Noky Simbani visited the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura for a conservation education tour and met the elephants under its care.
She along with fellow contestants extended their support to the NGO's 'Refuse to Ride' campaign which exposes the dark truth about elephant rides in India.
On Friday, Noky and her team visited the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre to promote and spread awareness about wildlife conservation in India.
Noky, 25, graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering and is now a chartered commercial banker, driving enterprise growth initiatives to support businesses across the country.
She was crowned Miss Universe Great Britain in 2022 and was previously Miss Grand England 2017 and represented England at the Miss Grand International 2017.
She was accompanied by pageant finalists Trishala Lakhani, Harriotte Lane, Jasmin Cadwallader and Miss Universe Great Britain 2021, Emma Collingridge.
The team spent time interacting with the resident elephants, all of whom have been given a second chance at a life free of abuse and cruelty. This was followed by an interactive session with the Wildlife SOS team of elephant care staff and veterinarians to understand the threats that Asian elephants face in India and learn about the organisation's elephant protection efforts.
The team also shed light on the dark reality behind elephant ride attractions in India and Wildlife SOS' ongoing 'Refuse to Ride' campaign, aimed at creating awareness among tourists and the general public.
The British pageant queens also embarked on an observational walk with elephants Arya and Zara. Noky later took to her social media account on Instagram sharing images from her visit and encouraging people to visit and volunteer for the cause.
The Miss Universe Great Britain, 2022, said: "I was shocked to learn about the harrowing experience these rescued elephants faced in the past. But I have been overjoyed to see just how effective and caring the Wildlife SOS team is in giving these elephants a better life along with specialised medical care. I would urge you all to get involved either by raising awareness or by visiting the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre and supporting the cause to make a lasting impact on these beautiful animals."
Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS, said: "We have been hosting the titleholders of the Miss Universe Great Britain at our rescue centres for years. It is encouraging to see prominent young influencers coming forward to support and promote this endeavour. This will help spread a conscious message about conservation and wildlife protection and draw attention to India's plight of Asian elephants. We hope for their continued support for the cause."
In 2010, Wildlife SOS and the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department established the first-of-its-kind facility, the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, in Mathura.
Equipped with state-of-the-art veterinary facilities, the centre is currently providing care and treatment for more than 30 rehabilitated elephants, rescued from extremely stressful conditions such as performing in circuses, giving tourist rides, begging on the streets and being used in wedding processions etc.