A 19-year old elephant, Jayamalyatha, was flogged by her Mahout and his Kavadi (Mahout's assistant) inside a rejuvenation camp for elephants in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu.
Mahout Vinil Kumar and his assistant Siva Prasath were arrested on Sunday evening after a video of the two men mercilessly beating up the chained elephant was widely shared on social media.
The Srivilliputhur temple elephant could be heard growling and trumpeting as the two abusers swing their sticks at her legs.
The incident happened on the 48-day (annual) rejuvenation program that saw 26 elephants from temples and mutts around Tamil Nadu and Puducherry come to Thekkampatti, Coimbatore.
Both the offenders have been arrested under sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Mahout has been suspended by the temple administration.
Upon preliminary inquiry from the organiser of the camp, the duo reportedly claimed that the elephant was agitated and attempted to trample them.
Just last month, an elephant in Tamil Nadu was thrown a burning tyre at which caught on to its ear resulting in death from severe burning during transit to the treatment facility.
Elephants are listed as Schedule-I species that grants them the highest degree of protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.
More than 550 elephants have died due to both natural and man-made causes since 2015 in Tamil Nadu, as revealed by the response of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to an RTI query by Antony Rubin, a Chennai-based activist.
The number of captive elephants in India runs close to 2500 and recent estimates of the total population range from 29,000 to 30,000.
India is home to half of the Asian elephant population in the whole world and 10% of it inhabited the state of Tamil Nadu, according to 2017 data by MoEFCC. Recently, the Madras High Court ordered that all cases of elephant deaths must be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.