By K. S. Sudhi [Admin note: Background story on this post can be found here.\
The rent-an-elephant proposal of the Kerala Forest Department has drawn flak from a few members of the State Wildlife Advisory Board.
The department had recently revised the maximum rent of adult animals to Rs. 12,000 a day. Around 30 elephants are housed in the five elephant camps run by the department. Anyone who wishes to hire the animals could walk away with them after paying the prescribed fee.
V.D. Satheesan, MLA, said that department should abstain from the move, which would send a wrong signal to society.
According to Mr. Satheesan, captive elephants were widely harassed in the State and the Captive Elephant Management Rules enacted for its welfare often flouted. There was no mechanism to ensure that the elephants of the State are taken care of properly. Ideally, the government should strictly enforce the rules and initiate stern action against the violators, he said.
Mr. Satheesan said the practice of parading elephants for various functions should be discouraged and phased out. The proposal for renting out the jumbos was neither beneficial to the government nor meant for the welfare of the animals, he said.
P.S. Easa, a member of the Steering Committee of Project Elephant, said the government should focus on rescue and rehabilitation of the animals than attempting to rent them out.
Ideally, the animals should be rehabilitated in conditions akin to their natural habitats. More....