In yet another case of alleged cruelty to elephants, by ill-trained mahouts, a captive elephant at the elephant sanctuary, under the Guruvayur Devaswom, died at Punnathurkotta in Guruvayur on Friday.
The 22-year-old Arjunan had been undergoing treatment for the past three months after it was subjected to torture, in the name of training by new mahouts.
The jumbo collapsed on Thursday after an injury to its leg worsened. Arjunan died on Friday at 10.15 am.
The incident brings to light once again the elephant management methods practised here, some that are primitive and archaic, which even includes third-degree techniques.
Three months ago, the elephant had been tortured brutally by the mahouts to tame it when it was in a musth. They had allegedly jabbed Arjunan in his legs repeatedly, with spikes, and hit him with bamboo rods.
It was also denied enough food and water, in the belief that elephants can be tamed if they are made weak through torture and poor feeding.
The very next day the vets performed an emergency surgery on its foreleg and drained out the pus from the wound, as the wound had turned septic.
In the beginning, the Devaswom officials had opted for Ayurveda treatment which made things worse for the animal, said Dr P B Giridas.
“If they had handed over the elephant to us when the injury came to light, we could have saved the animal,” he added. He also admitted the pachyderm was brutally tortured by the mahouts. It’s a shame to the civilised society, said Rajan, a resident near the elephant sanctuary. “The father of our nation once said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. We were shocked and dismayed by this gruesome torture of an elephant,” he said.
Various NGOs demanded that those who are responsible should be brought to justice.