Two elephants owned by a family in Palakkad died of starvation

9 captive elephants died of extreme torture in Keralas festival season NGO alleges
news Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 19:59

Nine captive elephants have died on account of extreme torture during the festival season in Kerala, Thrissur-based NGO Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) has alleged.  
The NGO has alleged that all the elephants died in the past five months due to extreme torture and also because they were administered banned medication.

According to August 2015 Supreme Court guidelines to protect elephants from torture, none of these were followed, says HATF Secretary VK Venkitachalam.

 “The majority of captive elephants do not have proper sheds to protect them from the sun and rain. They are kept in the open. Most of the elephants which were used in the festivals had huge wounds on their bodies,” Venkitachalam said.

The entrusts the welfare and protection of captive elephants between three government bodies and officials: the social forestry assistant conservators, district elephant task force under forest flying squad and state elephant task force. 

“These official bodies were completely inefficient in the last five months. Although the elephant torture increased during the festival season, these bodies did not even hold a meeting,” Venkitachalam alleged.

Just last week, he said, two elephants owned by a family in Palakkad died of starvation. He also claimed that ill-treatment of elephants during the musth period had led to the deaths of nine people in 2014-2015. Musth is the annual period of heightened sexual instinct in the male elephants, associated with discharge from a gland between the eye and ear.

The mouth of one of the elephants, Koottanadu Madhushanker, had been been stuffed with sacks to prevent it from making any sound, he alleged. 

He also alleges that during the Thrissur pooram, veterinary doctors had  issued false health certificates, despite the jumbos having huge wounds on their bodies and some of them suffering from diseases.

“An elephant named Parannur Nandan, owned by a famous doctor in Thrissur had big wounds on his body which were inflicted to control it during musth. Yet, doctors certified him as healthy for use during the festival,” Venkitachalam adds.

HATF also alleges it was inefficiency on the part of all the authorities which lead to death of so many elephants.