Warning against cruelty to captive elephants

Confiscation of animals, besides penal action against owners, suggested

August 28, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 29, 2016 05:57 pm IST - KOLLAM:

The warning comes in the backdrop of a recent order from the Supreme Court.

The warning comes in the backdrop of a recent order from the Supreme Court.

With the dawn of the temple festival season in the State, the Forest Department has warned of strong action against any form of cruelty to captive elephants. The warning comes in the backdrop of a recent order from the Supreme Court highlighting the “need to curb cruelties to captive elephants in the State of Kerala.”

In a circular in this connection notified last week, Chief Wildlife Warden G. Harikumar directed all Assistant Conservators of Forest (social forestry) to take a count of all captive elephants in their respective jurisdiction before the end of the first week of September.

The District Collectors are also directed to convene the ad hoc district-level committee meetings to discuss ways and means to strictly implement the provisions of Section 10 of the Kerala Captive Elephants (Maintenance and Management) Rules 2012.

The Section in question pertains to prevention of cruelty to captive elephants. The most important rule of the Section is that elephants in musth should not be used for any function.

The Section also says that heavy chains with spikes or sharp edges should not be used for tethering elephants. Bursting of crackers near the elephants or making the animals stand for long durations in the sun will not be permitted. It should also be ensured that sufficient food and water are provided to elephants that are made to participate in functions.

The circular says that if cruelties to captive elephants are detected, in addition to criminal prosecution proceedings against persons concerned, action such as confiscation of the elephants should be initiated. The maintenance of such confiscated elephants will be at the cost of the owner.

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