Kerala

Elephant lovers allege official lapses in implementing rules

The elephant lovers have alleged gross official indifference towards enforcing various key rules pertaining to parading of elephants in different parts of the State.

The Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) has strongly criticised the district authorities in Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha for their alleged inaction towards violation of rules in parading captive elephants at two temples in Pandalam and Thrikkunnappuzha recently.

A baby elephant, Aromal, attacked its mahout at the Dharma Sastha Temple at Thrikunnappuzha in Alappuzha District on Tuesday. Another captive elephant, Kollam Rajasekharan, which was brought to the Mahadevar Temple at Pandalam ran amok the same evening and veterinarians from Kollam tanquilised the violent pachyderm, later.

In a letter to the Animal Welfare Board of India Secretary and to the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, the HATF secretary, V.K. Venkitachalam, alleged that in both the cases, the elephants were taken to the festival ground without conducting any comprehensive scientific verification of its behavioral aspects.

In the case of Aromal, it had no prior experience to stand or walk along with other elephants at festival places. The other elephants which were paraded with Aromal were Sreekandan and Sivasankaran.

Sreekandan was owned by former Minister K.Balakrishna Pillai and Sivasankaran belonged to another person in Pathanamthitta.

Mr. Venkitachalam alleged that the Forest Department has not given permission to the contractors for taking these elephants outside their home district.

11 persons killed

Mr. Venkitachalam said 11 persons, six of them mahouts and the other five included a veterinary officer, were killed by elephants at various festival places in the past one year. Three mahouts had committed suicide due to the stress of managing elephants in musth. All these tragic incidents at festival places suggested the grave need to implement the IUCN checklist for assessment of captive elephants in Kerala with out any further delay, he said.

The HATF leader further called for initiating criminal proceedings against the owners and contractors of elephants, as well as the festival organizers at Pandalam and Thrikkunnappuzha for violating the Elephant Parade Rules.

Mahouts tethering the captive elephant that had turned violent at the Mahadevar Temple at Panmdalam on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:48:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/elephant-lovers-allege-official-lapses-in-implementing-rules/article7940854.ece

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