Special Correspondent

ELA says the death involved violations of law

‘The carcass had wounds all over’

KANNUR: 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 on Thursday, said 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 custodian.

The elephant had been under the custody of Vattekkad Kunjumuhammad under the Kothamangalam Forest Conservator’s area in 2008 and later transferred to a private land near Guruvayur Temple for offering it to Guruvayur Devaswom by a person who was residing in Alappuzha.

On finding 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. The elephant was then again transferred without a no objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden or the Divisional Forest Officers (DFO) of Thrissur, Kottayam or Kannur.

Mr. Venkatachalam said the transfer of captive elephants from one place to another without the statutory permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the DFO 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 elephants from one place to another to escape from the investigation being carried out by the Forest Department to verify the documents produced by 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.

Majority of the 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.

He 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. If no action had been taken by the forest authorities, majority of the 702 captive elephants might face untimely death. He said tusks of the dead elephants should be kpet at the safe locker at Chief Wildlife Warden’s office.