NEW DELHI: Delhi’s Wildlife Department is going to take action against the owners of elephants in the city for “mistreatment” of the animals in captivity. The department has asked the elephant owners to shift them to Uttar Pradesh, or the animals will be seized.
“We agreed to relocate our animals to Ramnagar near Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand as we knew people there and it is also a suitable environment for the elephants. But the department said we can only relocate them to Mathura. We don’t have anyone to care for them there,” said elephant owner Mehboob.
In July last year, the elephant owners approached the High Court after they received the first notice from the Wildlife Department stating that the animals can’t be kept in residential areas such as Sangam Vihar. After the owners shifted the elephants to Wazirabad, the department said the sheds in which they were housed were too small for such large animals.
“The department is hell bent on creating problems for us. When we constructed the new sheds for the elephants, they didn’t help us in advising the right size and shape,” said Yusuf Ali, who owns two of the seven elephants in Delhi that graze near ITO on the Yamuna banks. “We have been taking care of these animals for generations. We will never harm them to earn money. Elephants are being misused in so many places across the country like South India and Rajasthan but no one takes actions against them.”
Ishwar Singh Chief Conservator of Forest and Wildlife, Delhi, said, “We sent a team in July 2016 on the directions of the High Court to do a ground check. Many violations were found. The animals didn’t have much space. They need a 3-km walk everyday, which was not happening. We will take action as prescribed by the law. Relocation is also a possibility.”