'Elephant in safe hands'

January 28, 2014 11:35 pm | Updated May 23, 2016 04:51 pm IST - Mumbai:

Sundar — the abused elephant whose cause was supported by celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan — is being taken good care of, the administration of a prominent temple in Kolhapur claimed on Tuesday in an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had alleged that the temple authorities tortured the elephant.

The affidavit stated that Sundar was at Warana in Amrutnagar, Kolhapur, and was being given the best treatment. There was sufficient space for him to exercise and a Wildlife and Forest department officer had visited the site. The department had certified that the site was suitable for sheltering the elephant.

The affidavit refuted allegations that Sundar turned violent on August 11, 2011. “The authorities, devotees and the mahout are not at the risk of being harmed or killed by Sundar.” It denied that Sundar was chained at the temple for the past six years and that oral administration of tobacco and spiked chains were used to control the animal. The temple administration claimed that all rules of the Wildlife Protection Act were being followed.

The affidavit further claimed that allegations of Sundar being denied adequate food, water and daily walks were untrue. Reports that Sundar’s right eye was injured following cruel acts of a mahout were false. Doctors and forest officials were attending to Sundar every 20-30 days.

The authorities said they had passed a resolution in December 2013 to gift Sundar to Warana Sahakari Dudh Utpadak Sahakari Society. “Government sanction would be sought for erecting a rescue rehabilitation centre for which land will be made available,” the affidavit said. The temple administration pleaded for the dismissal of PETA’s petition.

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