Only 32 captive elephants in Kerala have valid owners
A one-day census conducted by the Forest Department has revealed that only 32 of the 515 captive elephants paraded in festivals across the state have got valid ownership documents.
Published: 03rd March 2019 04:54 AM | Last Updated: 03rd March 2019 04:54 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: A one-day census conducted by the Forest Department has revealed that only 32 of the 515 captive elephants paraded in festivals across the state have got valid ownership documents. The Forest Department in an RTI reply, informed activist V K Venkitachalam that only 19 elephants kept by private individuals and 13 others sheltered by the Forest Department have valid ownership records.
All the other 483 elephants kept by private individuals and the Devaswom Boards of Guruvayur, Travancore, Malabar, Cochin, Thiruvambadi and Paramekavu are illegal, said Vehkitachalam who is also the secretary of Thrissur-based NGO Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF). The Kerala High Court had directed the Kerala Forest Department on November 24, 2008, to stop the practice of bringing captive elephants to Kerala from other states.
The order was issued based on a writ filed by the HATF. According to a report submitted by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, a preliminary assessment has revealed that out of the 515 elephants, 249 have ownership certificates issued by Kerala and 96 elephants have certificates issued by other states. However, in many of these cases the validity of the ownership certificate has expired.
However, owners of 173 elephants do not possess ownership certificates. After following the mandatory procedure, the ownership certificate will be granted provisionally in all eligible cases subject to the final decision of the Supreme Court, the report said. The state was aware that some of the captive elephants did not have ownership certificate and action was taken to issue ownership certificate to 289 elephants in 2016. A total of 406 declarations were received.
The process was stopped following an order issued by the Supreme Court on May 4, 2016. Out of the 406 declarations received, 338 are alive till date. As many as 54 elephants ave been transferred violating the SC order, the report said.