The Elephant Lovers' Association (ELA) has urged the forest authorities to conduct a probe into the death of a captive elephant here on September 8.

Association secretary V.K. Venkatachalam in a representation to the Chief Conservator of Forests (Vigilance) N. Gopinath said that the death of the 28-year old elephant Vattekkad Ayyappan involved serious

violation of law. The elephant had been found dead with wounds all over its body as a result of torture inflicted on it by its mahouts and its custodian here who has been identified as Pullat George John.

The elephant had been under the custody of Vattekkad Kunjumuhammad under the Kothamangalam Forest Conservator's area in 2008 and later transferred to the private land near Guruvayur Temple for offering it

to Guruvayur Devaswom by a person who was residing in Alappuzha. Aware that the elephant lacked statutory records as per the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Guruvayur Devaswom had turned down the

proposal from him to offer it to the temple, Mr. Venkatachalam said adding that the elephant had then been transferred without the no objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden or the Divisional Forest Officers (DFO) of Thrissur, Kottayam or Kannur.

The secretary of the Thrissur-based ELA said that the transfer of captive elephants from one place to another without the statutory permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden or the DFOs was a serious violation of rules. Penal action should be initiated against elephant contractors responsible for such transfers, Mr. Venkatachalam said.

The elephant contractors were shifting the elephants from one place to another to escape from the investigations being carried out by the Forest Department to verify the documents produced by the elephant custodians during microchip implanting drive till June 30 last.

There were complaints that many of the documents produced by the elephant custodians for implanting microchips were fake, he said adding that majority of 702 elephants micro chipped by the Forest Department had no ownership certificates issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden as per the Wildlife Stock (Declaration) Rules 2003.

The ELA secretary also alleged that many officials who had supervised microchip implantation from October 2, 2006 to June 30 this year had succumbed to the captive elephant 'mafia' and implanted microchips without proper verification of the documents supplied by the custodians. He also said that if no action had been taken by the forest authorities, majority of the 702 captive elephants in the State might face untimely death. He also said that tusks of the dead elephants should be transferred to the safe locker at the Chief Wildlife Warden's office.

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