Court orders rescued elephant in wildlife dept custody
A local court in Ajmer on Monday ruled that a 10-year-old female elephant calf, rescued from illegal custody, be handed over to the state wildlife department.Updated: May 28, 2018, 22:58 IST
A local court in Ajmer on Monday ruled that a 10-year-old female elephant calf, rescued from illegal custody, be handed over to the state wildlife department.
The chief judicial magistrate, Ajmer, directed the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan to take the custody of the calf, named Suman.
The calf was found in Ajmer without documents required under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and shifted her to a state-run facility according to the Central Zoo Authority Guidelines, said NG Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International.
The order came on a case against accused, Rajendra Kumar Sharma, who was keeping the elephant illegally.
The calf was bought “illegally” from a circus in Maharashtra before the elephants there were seized, said a statement from Wildlife SOS.
The incident was brought to the attention of the forest department officials by Humane Society International and People for Animals (PFA) about two weeks back.
“We told the forest department about an elephant, Champa and the calf, Suman, who were being kept illegally,” said Jayasimha. He said that a few days ago Champa died and Sharma shifted Suman to Hathi Gaon in Jaipur.
“The accused applied to the forest department for a transport permit to take Suman back to Ajmer and the department came to know that the calf was in their possession and rescued her,” said Jayasmiha.
He said Sharma had transported Suman from Ajmer to Jaipur on May 22 and an FIR was lodged against him under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 on May 23. On May 25, forest department officials seized Suman from the accused and took her into their custody.
The forest department officials then filed a case of hunting and other offences under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ajmer, on Saturday.
“It is an extremely positive move by the court and the Rajasthan forest department. In such cases the courts usually gives custody to the owners. This time, however, the forest department has been helpful and proactive and agreed to take the elephant into their custody,” said Jayasimha.
Suman is a sibling of eight-year-old Peanut, both mothered by Chanda, who was rescued by Wildlife SOS in 2015 and is now at the group’s elephant conservation and care centre in Mathura.
Recently, a report showed that nearly every fourth elephant offering rides to tourists at the Amer Fort is either visually impaired or suffering from tuberculosis. The report stated that all 102 elephants at Hathi Gaon were found suffering from various foot problems, including overgrown toenails and bruised footpads, and many displayed stereotypical behaviour patterns, such as repetitive swaying and head-bobbing, indicating severe psychological distress.
The examination was conducted by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) during December 2017 to March 2018.
With PTI inputs