BENGALURU: Four elephants which were recently transported from Udupi to Chikkamagaluru are allegedly being misused for performance and display by a circus company though the state wildlife authorities have given permission only for transportation and religious purposes.
Wildlife activists from Chikkamagaluru have called for cancellation of the ownership of these animals and their immediate rehabilitation in Sakrebailu elephant camp.
On May 23, the wildlife authorities issued permission to the Great Prabhat Circus for transportation of one male elephant (Bahadur) and three females (Geetha, Lakshmi and Prabha) from Udupi to Chikkamagaluru from May 29 to June 3.
The PCCF (Wildlife) stipulated that the permission was only for ‘transportation and pooja karya’ and not
for any other purposes like performance or display. In the event of violation, action will be initiated against the circus management, the order stated.
However, wildlife activists allege that the circus management is using the elephants for display and performances during shows in Chikkamagaluru town which started sometime in the second week of June.
Speaking to Express, PCCF (Wildlife) Anu Reddy said, “I have asked for a factual report from my field officers in the district and once I get it, necessary action will be taken.” On their part, the circus staff told Express that they had got permission from the PCCF and so they were exhibiting the animals.
With elephants listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, performance and their use in circuses is regulated by AWBI.
The Act mentions that the ownership certificate of pachyderms, which is issued by PCCF (Wildlife) of the states, can be cancelled. In January, the CZA wrote to all states for rehabilitation of circus elephants. Chief wildlife wardens can cancel ownership certificates for elephants to facilitate the rehabilitation.
Each elephant needs to walk about 10-20km a day and requires nutrition of 250 to 300 kg. They also need ample space, otherwise it results in boredom, aggression and behavioural problems.
Activists say the four animals with the circus are neither being provided sufficient food, space, nor do they get any kind of exercise or health check-ups done.