The recent photo-shoot of two actresses atop captive elephants of Kodanad Elephant Training Centre has not gone down well with elephant enthusiasts.
Using elephants for the ride was against the guidelines set by the Animal Welfare Board of India and also a decision of the Kerala High Court, pointed out V.K. Venkitachalam, secretary of the Thrissur-based NGO, Heritage Animal Task Force.
As per the Board’s directive, one has to obtain a licence for using elephants for such purposes under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules. Permission can be obtained only for elephants with valid ownership certificates.
In this case, the Forest Department flouted all norms and permitted the misuse of elephants, said Mr. Venkitachalam in a letter to the Chief Minister.
The Kerala High Court had ordered that no elephant safaris can be held without registering the animals with the Board. The order was issued after a Gujarati woman killed by an elephant during safari, he said.
None of the 26 elephants kept by Kerala Forest Department had registration as they do not have any ownership certificate, he said.