Probe into elephant's death sought

Staff Reporter

A seven-year-old tusker died during a temple festival at Muthuilakad

ELA files petition with animal welfare board

Says owner does not have permit from Collector

KOLLAM: The Thrissur-based Elephant Lovers Association (ELA) has called for a high-level probe into the sudden death of a seven-year-old tusker during a temple festival at Muthuilakad, near Sasthamcotta, on Saturday night.

In a petition to the Secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India and the State Forest Minister, ELA secretary V.K. Venkitachalam said the owner of the elephant had not obtained the statutory permit from the District Collector to parade the animal at the festival. He said that in Kollam district there were over 100 captive elephants and the majority of them had no ownership certificate which was mandatory under Section 40 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

He alleged that participation of elephants in temple festivals were decided according to the whims and fancies of the temple committees and contractors without adhering to the statutory provisions. As per a High Court order in March 2008, permission should be sought from the respective District Collectors at least 72 hours in advance for parading elephants.

Mr. Venkitachalam alleged that a section of the veterinarians in Kollam issued permits on their own to the elephant owners under the pretext that such a permit was the formal order allowing the parading of elephants. Such permits were even issued from Kollam for parading the elephants in the neighbouring district too.

He also pointed out that the traditional “anavaalpidi” (catching the elephant's tail) programme scheduled for March 19 at a temple in Kollam was a violation of the Wildlife protection Act, the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maitenance) Rules 2003.