Plea to National Elephant Action Plan Committee 2020

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To,
Project Elephant,
Ministry of Environment & Forests.

Sir,

Kindly include the following concerns as well in the National Elephant Action Plan 2020.

1. Make Elephant Early warning system MANDATORY in all conflict areas, so that it will save a lot of human lives.

2. No more wild elephants should be captured to captivity (due to HEC) unless for MEDICAL TREATMENT and RELEASE. Currently a lot of money is spent to capture and maintain wild elephants in captivity. Maintaining elephants in captivity has no ecological value.

3. Elephants' ecological role is in the wild (Fundamental understanding of conservation), hence abandoned/rescued elephant calves should be rehabilitated in forest areas and RELEASED back to the wild as a herd. They should not be raised in captivity as SLAVES to humans. Chance should be given for them to live and survive in their natural habitat.

4. Setup a state of the art multi-specialty Elephant hospital in South which can be used by both Kerala and Tamil Nadu Governments for the treatment of injured and sick wild as well as captive elephants. The MORTALITY RATE of young wild elephants in Tamil Nadu and young captive elephants in Kerala is very HIGH.

5. Most elephants in Government run camps/rehab centers are chained and confined in one place with very limited walking each day. Improve the living standards of all camp elephants. Elephants should be allowed to walk freely in a larger enclosure/fenced area. Due to lack of free movement, many camp elephants have developed STRESS and DEPRESSION, which is CRUELTY to animals as per Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

6. Recognize stereotyping (head bobbing, swaying etc) of captive elephants as psychological stress and depression. Consider psychological pain also as cruelty to elephants and a punishable offence.

7. There are 723 captive elephants in ILLEGAL private custody across the country as per Project Elephant RTI. Kindly regularize asap the illegalities of WPA 1972 Schedule 1 Captive Elephants. As per Section 40 (1), (2) and Section 42 of Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 possessing an elephant without a valid ownership certificate is illegal.

8. All Captive elephant ownership should be re-inspected across the country. No owner should be allowed to have custody of an elephant without showing financial stability. During lockdown 4 captive elephants died in Jaipur elephant village due to lack of money to feed and care for the elephant. This should not be repeated again. Only those who are financially stable to look after should be allowed to have custody of elephants. Rest all captive elephants should be CONFISCATED. Due to the financial instability elephants are often exploited for commercial activities and they suffer both physically and psychologically.

9. A National online portal to be launched with all the details of all the captive elephants in India. Kerala has already an online portal for its captive elephants http://kcems.in

10. Captive breeding of elephants should be STRICTLY PROHIBITED and protect the wild elephants.

11. Crush all seized tusks in custody of State Forest departments to avoid illegal trades of ivories.

12. Minimum salary of all the mahouts should be made to Rs.20,000 per month. Only if the mahouts are well paid, the captive elephants will be well cared and will not be commercially exploited.

13. Get all working captive elephants (including in State Governments custody) mandatorily registered under "performing animal" of AWBI.

Regards,