Parliament Amends Wild Life (Protection) Act, Allows Transfer of Elephants
According to wildlife experts, this amendment may have opened the gates for the capture and trade of wild elephants
NEW DELHI: The upper house of the Indian Parliament also put its stamp on the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill on Thursday. The lower house had already passed the bill four months back.
This amendment allows the transport or transfer of captive elephants for religious and other purposes. Given that the party has a valid certificate of ownership. "Provided that the transfer or transport of a captive elephant for a religious or any other purpose by a person having a valid certificate of ownership shall be subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government," mentioned the amendment bill.
The Northeastern region of the country is said to have more than 9000 wild elephants. And this is said to be around 32% of all the wild elephants in the country. And the new amendment puts these wild elephants at risk. According to wildlife experts, this amendment may have opened the gates for the capture and trade of wild elephants.
In a previous incident, a captive elephant named Joymala from Assam was given to a temple in Tamil Nadu. After the transfer, complaints were raised about its living and working conditions, following several protests in Assam. Experts with People For Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) complained that the animal was subjected to cruelty and isolation, while a department of the Tamil Nadu Government said otherwise.
The original act had elephants on the list of protected animals of the country, thus banning any form of transfer or transport of these majestic animals. Keeping elephants in captivity is not a danger only to the animal but also humans. Temple elephants have been known to wreak havoc when in musk or stressed. A report by the Heritage Animal Taskforce mentioned that captive elephants have killed 526 people in the state of Kerala alone within 15 years.