The regional public consultation of the task force on Project Elephant in Kerala will be held at the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, on April 30 from 10 a.m.

Wildlife conservationists, park managers, forest field staff, representatives of elephant owners and NGOs working in the field of elephant conservation can present their views at the consultation meeting.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had recently formed the task force for providing recommendations to “upgrade the project to bring about a more effective conservation and management of wild as well as captive elephants.”

Regarding wild elephants, the task force has been asked to “recommend measures to strengthen elephant conservation in the country keeping in view the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and suggest amendments if found necessary.” It was also suggested to “identify, catalogue and define the elephant reserves and ranges at the landscape level” and “develop a framework for preparing long-term perspective plans for elephant ranges.” The committee will also look into the issue of human-elephant conflict.

In case of captive elephants, the task force has been suggested to recommend future strategies and guidelines for suitable use of elephants considering the socio-cultural and religious sentiments attached to the animals.

The training and certification of mahouts, veterinarian care and management guidelines, creation of rescue centres and monitoring of captive elephants have been included in the terms of reference of the task force.

Those who wish to present their views regarding the terms of reference should submit them in writing, said a member of the task force.

The task force, headed by Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, and an expert in forestry and wildlife history, has been directed to submit its report by May end.

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