KOCHI : Voices for Asian Elephants, an organisation aimed at protecting endangered Asian jumbos and their habitats in India, announced the launch of a robotic elephant for use in temples across the state. The robotic jumbo was provided at Sree Sankaran Kovil on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in Gudalur on a pilot basis.
Sangita Iyer, the founding executive director of ‘Voices...’, on Friday said the move aimed to end elephant suffering, while “allowing us to preserving our rich culture.” The 11-ft-tall, 800-kg robotic jumbo, named Sree Shiva Shankara Hariharan, has been designed by Chalakudy-based Four He-art Creations.
“The introduction of robotic elephants provides an alternative that allows us to preserve our rich culture without harming the jumbos. We respect India’s ancient traditions and sacred tenets, grounded in ahimsa, which guide us to stop abusing and torturing not just elephants but all sentient beings. Considering the scientific knowledge available on elephants that highlights their remarkable intelligence, social nature, and ecological significance, it is evident that they thrive best in the wild alongside their herds, rather than in captivity. We must embrace a path that reveres and protects these sacred animals from unnecessary suffering,” Sangita told reporters in Kochi.
“The robotic jumbos, created to appear lifelike, present a humane alternative that alleviates the suffering of elephants and mitigates the risks faced by their caretakers. We are committed to expanding the use of the robotic elephants in various Kerala temples. Many temples are also acknowledging the fact that using real elephants is not conducive to the well being of the majestic creatures,” Sangita said.