Wildlife SOS has established India's first ever chain free care centre for elephants in Uttar Pradesh! This centre has been established in collaboration with the UP Forest Department. The elephants here have been rescued from cruel owners and are being taken care of without the use of unkind and painful tools like bull-hooks, ankush, chains or by beatings. The elephant handlers have been trained to handle the elephants with compassion.
Elephants in India suffer a great deal! First they are captured as young calves from the wild, separated from their mother and their family herd, then they are trained using brutal techniques that involves a lot of beating while remaining tied up for months on end. Once they are trained, their life of slavery begins where they are chained for long hours each day and either sold to circuses where they are further beaten (technically called training) to perform absurd tricks or to owners who exploit them for use at wedding functions, election campaigns or temple ceremonies. Bull (Male) elephants have an even worse treatment as they come into musth when they become uncontrollable and don't obey their mahouts. "Musth" can last for several months and the elephant becomes unpredictable. During such times the bull elephant is chained on all four feet and left standing in his own urine and dung for months until he comes out of musth. He cannot even lie down and rest! The thick iron chains bite into the flesh of the elephant's legs and causes infections. Numerous elephants die each year suffering silently.
In a first for India and leading the way for compassionate management of elephants, Wildlife SOS, a Delhi-based NGO, has established India's first ever Chain-Free Elephant Care Centre in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) established by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, currently houses seven rescued elephants who were rescued from circuses and from cruel owners who were in illegal possession of these elephants.
At the Wildlife SOS Elephant Care Center, a unique method of management is used. Positive reinforcement, freedom, care and compassion! No chains, bull hooks (ankush) or other cruel tools or implements to train the elephants are used at the center. The mahouts have been trained to manage the elephants with kindness and compassion and to allow the elephants to enjoy their newfound freedom.
The center is also home to two large bull elephants "Bhola" and "Rajesh" who have been housed in spacious PCE (Protected Contact Enclosures) which enables the elephants to be managed without any chains even during musth. The five cow elephants (females) housed here come from across India. The most recent elephant received here is 'Laxmi' a begging elephant from Mumbai who is under rehabilitation with a special diet & exercise regime.
Geeta Seshamani, Co founder Wildlife SOS said "We have now established a humane method for elephant handling and management. Our mahouts (elephant handlers) are trained to interact with elephants without using tools or cruel implements but using positive reinforcement. We are establishing a kindness school for mahouts to train mahouts & elephant managers across India". More....