No more Captive Elephants ; Madras HC

No more elephants to be held captive: Madras HC

by Staff Writer 29-09-2021 | 11:13 AM

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday (24) ordered the State government to ensure that no elephant is taken into captivity, except for treatment if found unable to support itself in the wild.

The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu issued the orders on a petition filed by an activist, Rangarajan Narasimhan, on the ill-treatment of elephants at the Srirangam temple in Tiruchy district.

“No private person may capture any elephant or keep the same except those already existing,” the bench said. The matter was posted for next hearing on October 21.

It noted that the counsel for the State, C Harsha Raj, had submitted there are 32 elephants in temples and 31 privately held, apart from 64 under the custody of the Forest Department.

However, Elsa Foundation, an animal welfare foundation, said the State government had furnished details of 86 captive elephants in Tamil Nadu to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the figures indicated that 23 of them were no longer available.

On this, the judges directed the State to produce statements, if any, furnished to the Union ministry over the last five years regarding the number of elephants and other related materials.

The petitioner had complained that captive animals in temples were subjected to ill-treatment, and natural habitats be raised on vast lands owned by the HR&CE department so as to provide better facility for elephants.

They could be taken to the temples as and when required for performing rituals.

When the matter came up for hearing early in August, the judges had expressed concern over the way the captive pachyderms were treated and said they themselves would visit a place to ascertain how the elephants were treated.