Months after coming down heavily on the parading of elephants during Thrissur pooram in Kerala, a Thrissur-based NGO has filed a petition urging the government to look into violation by forest department officials.
Addressed to the director of Project Elephant, Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), the petition submitted on Tuesday demands that a baby elephant captured from a forest station in Attappady-Mannarkad forest area, be reunited with its mother elephant.
VK Venkitachalam, secretary of Heritage Animal Task Force accused the forest department of violating the guidelines prescribed by the government with regard to capture of such baby elephants from the wild and being in contravention of the Elephant Preservation Rules.
Pointing out that separating baby elephants from their mother elephants would take a toll on their health, the petitioner accused the forest officials of earning crores of rupees by housing the baby elephants in elephant keeping yards in Muthanga, Kodanad, Konni and Kottor. He alleged that this is being done purely for â€˜the enjoyment of touristsâ€™.
A copy of the petition has also been sent to Animal Welfare Board of India, Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala and Minister of Forest and Wildlife, K Raju.
Claiming that around 48 baby elephants have died in various elephant keeping yards in the state over the last 20 years, the petition pointed out that the state government has not received permission from the MoEF to capture these elephants.
Project Elephant is a centrally sponsored scheme that was started in 1992 to protect elephants in their natural habitat, to provide care for captive elephants and to deal with issues of man-animal conflict.