THRISSUR: Captive elephants had indeed been the mainstay of big circus companies for a very long time. But not any longer. The Central Zoo Authority(CZA) has refused to issue ‘no objection certificates’ to all the circuses for keeping the elephants, besides coming out with specific norms on elephant rehabilitation and rescue centres for the state governments.
The documents available with Express show the authority which deputed a team to evaluate the captive animal facility in various circuses, including Rajmahal, Ajanta, Natraj, Kohinoor, Great Golden Circus, Great Appollo Circus and Empire Circus, had found major violations by the circus companies following which their recognition was cancelled.
Brij Kishor Gupta, Evaluation and Monitoring Officer, Central Zoo Authority, confirmed to Express the licences of all the zoos had been cancelled. However, he refused to divulge anything more. Some of the circus companies had challenged the authority’s decision to deny the right to maintain elephants for the performance purposes. However, the expert team stood its ground as the atrocities against the animals was continuing.
Apparently majority of the big circuses, including Asian and Rambo Great Bombay Circus and Jumbo Circus had already sent their respective captive elephants to government rehabilitation centres. Crippled by CZA’s refusal to renew the licence, some of the oldest circus companies like Gemini, Rajkamal and Rayman had closed down.
Additionally, the Central Zoo Authority has announced the Captive Elephant Welfare Committee will be authorised to periodically inspect all Elephant Rehabilitation Centre and submit the report to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state/UT for certification of norms by the ERC concerned. The authority clarified the norms will be over and above the Guidelines for Care and Management of Captive Elephants issued by the MoEF.