‘Circular violates guidelines prescribed by Project Elephants and various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.’

The Heritage Animal Task Force has urged the Union Ministry of Forest and Wildlife and the Director of Project Elephant to cancel a circular issued by the Forest and Wildlife Department recently permitting to hire three-dozen captive elephants under the Kerala Forest Department to unauthorised elephant dealers.

Task Force secretary V.K. Venkatachalam in a letter to the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment and Director of Project Elephant on Wednesday said the circular violated the guidelines prescribed by Project Elephants and various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The circular violated the Declaration of Wildlife Stock Rules 2003 and Performing Animals (Restriction) Rule 2001. He said after the implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Kerala Forest Department had hired more than five-dozen captive elephants to timber dealers to log timber. But most of these elephants were illegally kept by the dealers and some of them were even sold for huge amount. Yet the Forest Department had not taken any action against them, the letter alleged.

The letter said that the Forest Department was keeping more than three-dozen animals in various elephant camps and wanted to hire them to elephant dealers in violation of the existing rules. Thus, the Centre should intervene to cancel the move to handover captive elephants to unauthorised dealers who were notorious for torturing elephants, especially during the festival season, by making them work in severe climatic condition during day and night, Mr. Venkatachalam said.