Kerala Forest Department Finally Admits Laxity After Death Of 10 Elephants In 2018
May 8th, 2018
Image credit: Wikimedia
The Kerala Forest Department finally acknowledged that they have faulted in the implementation of Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012.
In the circular issued by the department, dated May 2, 2018, it admitted to laxity in implementing these provisions.
It took the death of ten elephants this year for the department to sit up and take notice of the menace.
In the circular, PK Kesavan, Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW), stated that as many as ten elephants have died in the current year due to alleged “careless handling of the elephants as well as willful negligence”.
The circular also stated that this matter was discussed in the Forest Headquarters with officers including wildlife wardens and Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACFs).
In the meeting, it was decided that the rules and provisions are to be implemented with immediate effect.
Elephants which are in high demand or “celebrity elephants” would now be identified in every district and inspecting officers would closely monitor whether the related rules for their protection are complied with.
Special care would be taken to ensure that the elephant is not provoked or put to work during the musth period. Musth is a periodic condition in male elephants during which they exhibit excessively aggressive behaviour which is accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones.
The circular also stated that the committee has made it mandatory for it to meet at least twice a year with one meeting to be held just before the onset of the festival season. Same has to be ensured by the ACF.
The committee will now take special care to ensure that the Supreme Court’s order which directs owners of elephants used for festivals to register themselves with District Level Committees. Even the transport of such elephants would undergo at least four levels of checks. In cases of repeated offences, elephants would be confiscated by the government.
The notice further stated that these guidelines will be reviewed in the headquarters on a quarterly basis.
The complete circular can be read here.
This acknowledgement by the Kerala Forest Department and its further promise to comply with the rules and provisions related to prevention of cruelty against elephants has been received well by organisations and individuals working in this direction.
As reported by The News Minute, Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF), a Thrissur-based elephant welfare organisation said that they “would like to express thanks to all the persons and organisations who contributed relentless efforts to protest against the cruelty to elephants in captivity in Kerala.”
Breaking NewsHATF use this opportunity to express thanks to all the persons and organizations who contributed…
The Logical Indian take
The admission by the Forest Department to their laxity in the prevention of elephant cruelty is appreciable. The rules and provisions established by the department in its circular needs to be implemented properly so that incidents of deaths and harm to elephants held in captivity can be completely eliminated.