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Captive  Pachyderms  An  Elephantine  Penury

By  C K  George

Thrissur, July  12  (IVC): The captive elephants (domestic elephants) in the State are in elephantine penury following a lack of sufficient land for their comfortable movement and rest.

There are 451 captive elephants in the State now, and with 150 elephants, Thrissur stays on top of all districts, the official sources said.

As per the ruling of the Honourable Supreme Court on 18-08-2015, owners need to provide two-and-a-half acres of land per elephant for their comfortable living. There should be a water channel on every 2.5 acres of land. It needs to be examined whether the captive elephants’ owners have sufficient inheritor assets to protect elephants. According to official communication from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), only 303 out of 451 captive elephants’ owners have obtained ownership certificates.

As per Order  R T  No 84/2016  dated  26-02-2016, the owners of the captive elephants had to submit their applications to the Chief Wildlife  Warden for ownership certificates before 28-03-2016, the official sources said.

In reply to a Right To Information Application dated 12-05-2022, the Chief Wildlife Warden stated that it was not “hominy captive elephant owners have possessed two-and-a-half acre of land per animal according to the ruling of the apex court.

An elephant urinates at least 20 times a day. It would take a minimum of three days for the land to be free from the wetness from their urination. If the animals are allowed to exist for long under the wet condition of the ground, it will cause serious health hazards, noted elephant experts said.

The Guruvayur Devaswom has 44 elephants under it now. But they have only 18.5 acres of land for these elephants.

We are aware of the SC ruling. We need to purchase 92 more acres of land to protect our elephants, said Dr VK Vijayan, Chairman of the  Guruvayur  Devaswom Managing Committee. Devaswaom is trying its best to purchase sufficient land, and we have enough fund for this, he further added. But the problem is the availability of land near the temple.

The Cochin Devaswom Board has six elephants under its possession at its headquarters here. They were sheltered at about 5 acres and belonged to the Vadakunnathan Devaswom ground of the Vadakunnathan temple where the famous Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated, Devaswom’s Elephant Officer said. It has to possess 15 acres of land as per the ruling of the apex court.

As a sufficient chunk of land had not been provided by the respective captive elephant owners the elephants are in a  precarious situation of causing serious health hazards to them.

It is a    pity that the  Principal  Chief  Conservator of  Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden was not known how many captive-elephant owners possessed two-and-a-half acres of land per animal.  IVC  cor  TCR

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