Other States

Animal rights groups demand better conditions for Jaipur’s elephants

Distressed by the death of four elephants in the last six months at Hathi Gaon near Jaipur, animal rights groups here on Tuesday demanded better conditions for the tuskers, including urgent steps for their veterinary care, appropriate food and water, and adequate exercise, to prevent more deaths.

The captive elephants, which are kept tethered at Hathi Gaon, were mostly used for ferrying tourists to the historic Amber Fort before the COVID-19 lockdown started in March this year. The elephant rides to the fort were closed during the pandemic, rendering the animals’ owners jobless.

Activists led by ‘Help in Suffering’ and ‘Angel Eyes’ have decided to organise a nationwide digital protest and a protest rally at Albert Hall Museum here, followed by a candle light vigil at Amber Fort, on October 1 to highlight the issue.

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has written letters to Rajasthan Chief Secretary Rajeeva Swarup and the forest authorities, seeking steps to prevent deaths of elephants and rehabilitation of old and sick elephants to the rescue centres where they could live freely in nature with other pachyderms.

A recent report of the Animal Welfare Board of India stated that out of 102 captive elephants in Jaipur, 19 were found to be blind, and using them at public places for rides would put the safety of people at high risk. Of the 91 elephants screened for tuberculosis, 10 tested positive for the disease.

Activists pointed out that neither the Forest and Animal Husbandry Departments of the State government, nor the owners, had taken responsibility for the elephants’ death. “Elephants are taken captive using a loophole in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The owners are required to ensure upkeep and maintenance of elephants,” FIAPO executive director Varda Mehrotra said.

The lockdown has exposed a “harsh reality” that the owners would only maintain the elephants if they continued to generate revenue by making them work. Activists said while it was highly unlikely that the elephants of Hathi Gaon would return to full work any time soon, they were currently tethered round-the-clock with limited food and water and no medical care.

‘Help in Suffering’ co-organiser Mariam Abuhaideri said there was a direct link between captivity and poor health of elephants, while the conditions at Hathi Gaon were “appalling, all in the name of heritage and business”. The digital protest on October 1 will take the shape of tweet-a-thon, while the protest gatherings will be telecast live from Instagram page @hathikadi.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 18, 2021 10:01:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/animal-rights-groups-demand-better-conditions-for-jaipurs-elephants/article32726873.ece

Next Story