Kerala

An elephant issue simmers over

As the ban on parading of Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, one of the most sought-after elephants in the State, has not been lifted by the authorities, the Elephant Owners Federation has threatened to withdraw the other elephants too from parading for Thrissur Pooram.

Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, fondly called Raman, was banned after the death of two persons in the melee after the elephant turned unruly at Kottappadi last February.

Panel suggestion

An expert monitoring panel on captive elephants, which examined the health and behaviour of the elephant, submitted a report against parading the elephant at festivals and functions to the Chief Wildlife Warden. Later, the Chief Wildlife Warden issued an order banning the parading of the elephant at festivals.

The elephant, which holds the title ‘Ekachathrapathi’, has killed 13 people, including six mahouts and four women. It has also killed three elephants.

The Heritage Animal Task Force, a group of animal lovers, said the elephant was visually impaired and the ban should not be lifted.

“It is totally blind and has digestive problems. The elephant gets provoked at minute irritations. So it is dangerous to parade the elephant for the pooram,” it says.

One of the tallest and majestic elephants in the State, Ramachandran has been an impressive presence at the opening ceremony at the Thekke Gopura Vathil, one of the major ritual that marks the beginning of the Pooram celebrations.

Issue raised at meet

Though the issue of ban was raised at a meeting here on Thursday evening on the conduct of the pooram, the Collector refused to lift the ban as there was no favourable order from the government or the monitoring panel.

Though the Agriculture Minister, at a recent meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, promised an amicable solution to the festival organisers, the report of the monitoring panel is a hurdle against lifting the ban on the elephant.

The elephant owners’ federation recently observed a one-day hunger strike to lift the ban on the elephant.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 3:35:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/an-elephant-issue-simmers-over/article26959481.ece

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