THRISSUR: The World Elephant Day will be celebrated tomorrow, but the people of Kerala need to hold their head down, if we check the number of elephant deaths in the state last year.
Even though the state government has been initiating various steps to ease the life of captive elephants, through continuous monitoring and the interventions of social forestry, the life of wild elephants too are in danger.
With the decreasing forest area, the wild elephants constantly come into conflict with the people and many end up losing their lives due to electrocution or by other means.
As per the data provided by Heritage Animal Task Force, that stands for the protection of elephants in the state, 238 wild elephants died in the state from August 12, 2017 to August 11, 2018. Of the 238 elephants that died, 41 were tuskers and 120 were female jumbos, but the most tragic part is that 77 of them were baby elephants.
Last year, 179 wild elephants died due to several issues including drought. Meanwhile, 42 elephants died due to electrocution, pointing out the necessity to monitor the voltage being passed through the electric fencing.
Normally, the voltage should be limited in a way not to harm the animals, but just to make a fear in them. Meanwhile, 37 captive jumpos died last year of which 31 were tuskers and 6 were female.
"Unfortunately, the age of the died captive elephants were between 17 to 36, too young to leave the world when compared to the age of wild elephants," said V. K. Venkitachalam, chairman of HATF.
He added that most of the captive elephants died due to starvation, neglect and torture.
Kerala saw a serious debate about the elephant parades and the protection of the captive jumbos. While supporters of elephant parades allege that foreign funded agencies with their vested interest are behind it to destroy the traditional festivals of Kerala, animal lovers are striving to create awareness about the torture faced by the captive elephants.