KERALA

House panel seeks amendment to captive elephant management rules

For animal welfare: Subordinate Legislative Committee members visit the Anakotta (elephant yard) of the Guruvayur Devaswom on Wednesday.

For animal welfare: Subordinate Legislative Committee members visit the Anakotta (elephant yard) of the Guruvayur Devaswom on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: By special arrangement

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: The Subordinate Legislative Committee headed by Jose Thettayil, MLA, held a sitting at Thrissur Collectorate on Wednesday to evaluate the implementation of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 on the care and management of captive elephants. Forest officials, elephant owners, mahouts, and elephant lovers presented their views at the meeting.

The meeting urged the government to amend the Captive Elephant Management and Maintenance Rules without affecting the festival ceremonies. The elephant owners raised objection to the Forest Department’s order asking them to seek permission from district administration three days ahead of parading their elephants at festivals.

They also asked the government to make arrangements to provide sufficient supply of palm leaves for elephants.

The Elephant Owners’ Association suggested opening of diagnostic laboratories to detect the common diseases of elephants. The State did not even have x-ray facilities for elephants in case of injuries in accidents.

The association suggested framing guidelines for management of elephants by a group of veterinary doctors, researchers, elephant owners and traditional experts.

Mahouts who attended the hearing said that on some occasions while trying to restrict people from mounting the elephants they had to face physical assault from the public.

They urged the committee to have strict provisions to check untrained people from mounting the elephants.

Elephant Lovers’ Association asked the government to ensure that the elephant handlers strictly followed the rules and regulations.

The committee, which included MLAs Muraly Perunnelly, Simon Britto, V. Chentamarakshan, and Thomas Unniadan, also visited Anakotta (elephant yard) of the Guruvayur Devaswom.

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