By Biju E. Paul
ALAPPUZHA: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has come out with a proposal to set up a geriatric care centre for elephants. The board is expected to finalise the land for the project by December and begin the works on it in March.
According to Devaswom Board Commissioner P Venugopal, the board was considering three locations for the purpose -- Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Muvattupuzha. A special team has been constituted for identifying the land. The TDB would take a final call on it after the team submits its recommendations, he said.
The TDB currently has 32 elephants, four of which are aged. The majority of the elephants are in Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts.
The animal lovers are, however, opposed to the idea of shifting aged elephants to the geriatric care centre. According to them, the aged elephants should not be transported from one district to another, as they face various health issues.
“The government should take immediate steps to provide treatment to these elephants,” they said.
State general secretary of Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) V K Venkitachalam stressed that the aged elephants were now facing serious health problems and they needed immediate medical care. “But instead of ensuring the treatment for them, the TDB is mulling an old age home either in Thiruvananthapuram or Central Kerala.
This means that the elephants would be forced to travel long distances. It would only worsen their health condition. Besides, it would take considerable time to set up the proposed centre. So, we have decided to approach the state government against the TDB’s decision,” he said.
Venkitachalam also pointed out that as per the diktat of Animal Welfare Board, the aged elephants should be protected at their current location itself.
He said the TDB should ensure all the facilities for providing special care and treatment to the aged elephants at their current locations as soon as possible.
The HATF has submitted a memorandum to the state government in this regard. “We are hopeful of a positive response from the authorities concerned,” Venkitachalam said.