No more parading of jumbos in sun
Chief Wildlife Warden warns of strong action if the rules are flouted
Elephants are a thing of beauty to watch when paraded along the roads and streets. But in the searing summer that heats up the roads and burns the soles of their sensitive feet, parading the pachyderms can no longer be a thing of beauty in Kerala. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Surendrakumar, in his latest order, has made it hard for those exploiting captive elephants in the name of religion and festivals.
The order proscribes elephant parading in any form between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., a move widely welcomed by animal lovers. “I have not issued anything new. What I have done is to strictly implement the existing regulations in the treatment of elephants during the summer,” asks Mr. Surendrakumar.
The onus is on district-level monitoring committees to ensure that no elephant is paraded or transported in vehicles between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer. Elephants are extremely sensitive animals. Innumerable cases of elephant attacks as a result of their failure to withstand heat were reported from across the State.
“It’s a great thing for the animal,” said elephant rights activist and documentary maker Sangita Iyer, whose film on Kerala’s temple elephants titled Gods in Shackles had greatly impacted the State’s thinking.
Attempts are on by certain temples to wrest special exemption from this blanket ban. “Temple people make a lot of money by parading elephants. For them, it’s business. For us, it’s protecting lives,” Mr. Surendrakumar told The Hindu.