Tamil Nadu

HC: don’t use crackers directly on elephants

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Forest Department not to use firecrackers on elephants to chase them back into forests since there is always a chance of the pachyderms getting injured.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued the direction in a case filed by the People for Cattle in India, complaining about the treatment meted out to an elephant which strayed into Coimbatore from Kerala last year.

Petitioner’s counsel Kaushik N. Sharma told the court that the ‘makhna’ from Kerala had entered the forest area in Coimbatore last August after suffering severe injuries in its mouth after biting a coconut or a fruit laden with explosives.

Accusing Forest Department officials of not darting the elephant and providing it the necessary medical treatment, he said the animal was chased into the forests by throwing crackers. It eventually died at Marapallam, in Kerala, on September 9.

He wanted standard operating procedures (SOP) to be laid down by the Forest Department for the treatment of injured elephants in the future. On the other hand, Additional Government Pleader (Forests) S. Prabhu told the court that an SOP was already in place to treat such animals.

Denying all charges levelled by the petitioner, the AGP said the SOP was followed scrupulously in the case of the makhna, and the animal was monitored from August 27 to September 6. It was also provided food and medicines but it could not consume them due to injuries in its mouth.

In a fit of rage, the pachyderm started moving into human habitations. When it was about to damage a gas cylinder and injure itself more, Forest Department officials used the traditional method of bursting crackers to chase it back into the forest, the AGP said. Though an SOP was in place, at times officials must be given the latitude to take other measures as per the ground situation, he said.

Accepting his plea, the judges closed the case with a direction to the Department to follow the SOP, with latitude. They said officials could take measures, on a case-to-case basis. Insofar as the use of crackers was concerned, the judges said they should not be used directly on the animals.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 1:56:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-dont-use-crackers-directly-on-elephants/article33639371.ece

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