Tamil Nadu

Maneka’s call to release Rivaldo

Prominent animal rights activists and former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has called for the release of elephant Rivaldo in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).

The elephant has been put inside a kraal (elephant shelter used to contain the animal and to impart training) since May 5. Now, a month after it was moved to the kraal, a mahout and two assistants have begun training the animal by teaching it commands.

Ms. Gandhi told The Hindu on Monday that the elephant “has not attacked humans and is in no way a menace.” The BJP MP said the elephant had become habituated to humans because of a wound on his snout, which has since healed. “It is the fault of humans for feeding him, so now he sees himself as semi-human,” she said.

The animal rights activist, whose recent intervention ensured the release of captured elephant Kusha in Karnataka, called upon Tamil Nadu to do the same with Rivaldo.

“Now the answer to this is to do a soft-release in Theppakadu without any chains, and feed him at a specific time and place,” she said and added that the elephant should be left to gradually learn to forage for itself, and weaned off the feed. “If this works, he should be released into the forest,” she said.

‘No training’

K.K. Kaushal, Field Director of MTR, said the Forest Department intended to treat the animal for its injuries. “There are people spreading rumours that we are beating the animal inside the kraal. This is not true. We are only administering medical treatment,” he said. About the training the animal, Mr. Kaushal said that these commands were only to foster easier treatment for Rivaldo.

“A team of veterinarians will arrive in the coming weeks to check on how best to treat him,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 9:35:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/manekas-call-to-release-rivaldo/article34756260.ece

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