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Assam Forest Department issues directive; owners will have to produce elephants for verification

The state Forest Department has directed the owners of captive elephants to appear with their respective elephants

elephants

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Aug 2022 1:59 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The state Forest Department has directed the owners of captive elephants to appear with their respective elephants at the DFO/Range office concerned for verification purpose between August 20 and September 20 next.

This directive has been issued by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and disseminated to the owners of captive elephants by various DFOs.

Talking to The Sentinel, DFO of East Kamrup Division Rohini Saikia said that the directive has been issued because some elephants' owners have neither registered their elephants with the department nor installed microchips in the animals as per rules. Some owners have also illegally sent their elephants to neighbouring states for various work, Saikia said.

According to official records, there are around 900 captive elephants in the state, out of which 750 elephants are in the custody of private owners and the rest are under the Forest Department. The sources added that around 50 per cent private owners do not have ownership certificates. Some private owners hire out their elephants for tourism purpose, while others simply keep them in accordance with tradition. Yet others, however, illegally sell their elephants in other states.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) observed that the step for verification of captive elephants has had to be taken because "it is learnt that several of captive elephants of Assam-origin were moved without permission to Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh etc. and are being used for illegal activities like dragging of illicitly-felled trees. Therefore, all owners have been asked to produce their respective elephants before the Forest Department. If any elephant is found without any microchip, then DNA progeny test must be carried out."

It is pertinent to mention that yesterday was World Elephant Day and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted in this connection: "On World Elephant Day, reiterating our commitment to protect the elephant." Similarly, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had tweeted: "The gentle giant, elephant has always played an important role in our civilization. I reaffirm our government's resolve to protect the majestic animal and its habitat."

Also Read: Assam elephants used in 'illegal activities' in neighbouring states

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