The Chitwan National Park (CNP), which is working to keep its elephants off shackles, is preparing to create additional enclosures expanding up to one acre of land for the unchained pachyderms.
As part of the second phase of the project that was launched in January last year, the CNP in coordination with Elephant Aid International (EAI), a US-based non-profit organisation, is preparing to keep 34 elephants off their shackles this year.
According to CNP spokesperson Tika Ram Poudel, fencing materials for the enclosures have already reached the park. “We will soon start training caregivers on compassionate elephant care,” he said. Carol Buckley, representing the EAI, is visiting Nepal this month to train caregivers on the new form of elephant management that aims to stop cruelty inherent in traditional care.
Of the total 57 elephants owned by the CNP, 33 were unchained in 2014 in a bid to provide them better living conditions and help create a positive relationship between humans and animals in the sanctuary.
The new care system was first of its kind in the region and is now getting popularity in various countries, including Thailand and India, where elephants are reared in captive environment.
Captive elephants in Nepal and elsewhere in South Asia are mostly restrained by ropes or chains on their feet as caregivers and professionals working to ensure the safety of the gentle giants are plagued with misconceptions that elephants will run amok and cause human injuries or deaths if they are left unchained.