The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has written to the state government to take action in cases of violations of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and guidelines issued by the MoEF in handling of captive elephants. The letter was written by Inspector General of Forests S K Khanduri to Krishna Rao, Principal Secretary, State Forest, Ecology and Environment Department on October 3.
The letter was sent following a complaint by animal rights activist Suparna Ganguly in Bangalore, alleging violation of rules in conservation of captive elephants. The elephants were allegedly not provided proper food and shelter. Nutrients were not given in the food provided to the calves.
It was also alleged that there were no trained mahouts to take care of the elephants.
In her complaint, Ganguly highlighted incidents of exchange of elephants by Suttur Mutt.
She alleged that a one-year-old elephant calf from Bannerghatta was exchanged for a 14-year- old elephant of the mutt.
The permission for this exchange of elephants was reportedly granted by the principal chief wildlife warden of the state.
Speaking to Express, Suparna Gangulay said, “One cannot shift a temple animal or donate it, but the people in power have used the term ‘exchange’ and have separated a one-year- old calf from its mother, and sent it to Suttur Mutt in February this year. An elephant calf should not be separated for three years as it will affect both the mother and the calf.”
A two-year-old elephant named Prakruthi at Sakkarebaylu camp was exchanged for a 15-year-old elephant from Pondicherry.