Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: The district administration has issued guidelines for handling of elephants and to prevent accidents caused by elephants running amok during temple festivals.

According to the guidelines, organisers of festivals are required to inform the Forest Range Officer about the details of the event. Only elephants with an ownership certificate from the Forest Department and a health certificate issued by a veterinary doctor will be permitted to participate in a festival. It is the responsibility of the organisers and the handlers to ensure that the animal is bathed at least once a day and is provided with enough food and water.

The administration has imposed strict regulations on handling of elephants. The animals should not be made to stand for long hours in the sun for a procession and they should not be exposed to the sound of high-decibel crackers. The owners and handlers have also been warned against walking the elephants on tarred roads on hot days. The order states that the guidelines were issued in the backdrop of a series of accidents caused by elephants during temple festivals. The Forest Range Officers at Palode and Paruthipally and the Social Forestry Range Officers for Neyyattinkara, Thiruvananthapuram and Attingal have been authorised to approve the use of elephants for festivals.