Chat Archives
Chat on "Captive elephant management" dated May 18, 2004

    Mithun  Today we are meeting in the chat room to discuss "Captive elephant management". The moderator is Dr. P.S. Easa, Director-Conservation at Wildlife Trust of India 

    Karthik  Hi mithun... this is karthik from bangalore... 

    Karthik  hi... at what time is this chat going to start...? 

    anakuty  I am sorry I could log in just now. I logged in as Anakutty meaning elephant calf. 

    Mithun  Hi Karthik 

    anakuty  I am sorry again. I am Easa entered as anakutty 

    Mithun  Hi Dr. Easa, welcome 

    Karthik  hi everybody this is Karthik from ... Bangalore...

    anakuty  What do you think on the use of captive elephant 

    Karthik  hi susan... seeing u after a long time..

    Susan  Sorry Dr. Easa, & friendsI am late today. A warm welcome 

    jumbo  Commander Unnithan from Mumbai as Jumbo 

    anakuty  What about Mithun? You are from Delhi? 

     Karthik  great to see so many people... on chat.. 

    anakuty  Hai Commander. I remember you meeting at BNHS 

    Karthik  isn't it susan.. there were time where only i and u use to chat.. :) 

    Susan  Last few months the response has been good, Karthik 

    anakuty  What do you think on the use of captive elephant? I repeat 

    Karthik  hi vijayan.. how r u? 

    jumbo  I am finding difficulty with the web page-- no space to type. Dr. Easa, thanx. I remember you. 

    Susan  Mithun is our web technologist, from Delhi 

    Susan  Pl. type one line at a time, that is faster. 

    jumbo  Dr. Easa, what about the programme of providing jumbo shoes & 8 hrly job for the temple elephants of Kerala? Is the move still in vogue? 

    anakuty  There had been several suggestions to help the elephants in the mid day sunlight. Elephant is not used to heat.  

    anakuty  I do not know why it should be eight hours. It is anthropogenic . There is of course a rule in Kerala which is known as Kerala Captive elephants (Management and Maintenance )Rules 

    jumbo  Are there any rules put forward? Code of conduct for the users?

    anakuty  The provisions are for protecting elephants in captivity. The owners, mahouts, elephant lovers and everything comes under this. 

    jumbo  Since the owners are in the unorg sector, who enforces? 

    anakuty  I drafted this with Dr. Easwaran who is the Forest Vet. in Kerala. this was discussed in workshops and now it is in effect. 

    anakuty  You can request the Kerala PCCF Mr. Surendranathan Asari for a copy. in fact he wanted us to frame the rules and there was Conservator Hari Kumar who initiated the process. 

    anakuty  The enforcement is the business of forest dept. and may be police also.

    jumbo  Got it. Thanx. 

    anakuty  Owners in Kerala are organised well There is the Eleephant Owners' association with more than 150 members 

    anakuty  Where is Karthik?   

    jumbo  Mithun, My space for typing is submerged. What do I do ? 

    anakuty  I think the worst is in the north like Delhi and Jaipur where there is not much space or vet. care 

    anakuty  Jumbos always have the problem of space. that is why I entered as calf 

    Akriti  Hello 

    jumbo  In Mumbai, the Police arrested 4 begging elephants once. Now there seems to be no restrictions. Can you throw some light?

    Akriti  what is the topic about over her 

    anakuty  Most often the elephants are not begging. it is the mahouts who beg. This is very common in Thaid where elephants are without work.  

    Susan  Akriti, the topic is Captive elephants 

    anakuty  In fact, in most of the 11 countries with about 15000 captive elephants find it difficult to maintain them because there is no work and hence no money. 

    Susan  What is the approx. no. of captive elephants in India? Are most of them in the South? 

    anakuty  In most of the countries, elephants were used mostly for logging. Except perhaps, Myanmar logging is almost nil 

    jumbo  I have seen the elephants taking vegetables from the vendors, the mahouts encouraging, drivers cursing and janata enjoying. 

    anakuty  Sri ka has only 187 elephants in captivity. Indonesia has about 360, Malaysia only 36. Nepal has 171 

    jumbo  What is our score? Kerala & Bihar? 

    anakuty  Thaid has 3000, India 3000-3200, Cambodia 144, Vietnam 165, Bangaladesh 94

    anakuty  Myanmar has the largest - about 6800 

    anakuty  Most of the countries have management problems. 

    Susan  What percentage of these 3000 are in temples? 

    jumbo  How do they subsist in Myanmar? 

    anakuty  One of the highly debate topic is why should we have the elephants in captivity? 

    anakuty  Kerala has the largest in temples, may be about 250 or so. The other states do not have many in temples. 

    Susan  I was reading in the newspaper that major problems of captive elephants in India , are obesity & foot sores. Do you agree Dr. Easa? 

    anakuty  Myanmar still has logging work. 

    Susan  Vijayan, please let us hear from you too.  

    anakuty  There are very interesting statistics from Myanmar. they had about 3700 calves born in captivity and had 17 twins. 

    anakuty  Foot sore is a problem because they are taken thorugh artficial substrates like tarred road. I have not heard obesity as a problem as most of them are put to work for money. 

    Karthik  hi i am back... 

    Karthik  Dr. Essa.. do u still fell even after having such an advanced technology we do need to depend on poor elephants for log works.. ? 

    anakuty  My vet friend says that saddle sore, foot sore and Angush wounds are problems.

    anakuty  WE need not depend on poor elephants for that. That is why I asked do we have to have elephants in captivity? 

    jumbo  The commands given to them are in various guages. Do they respond to the phonetics/ combination of touch signals? 

    Karthik  Is there anyway to stop this Dr. essa ? 

    anakuty  Normally elephants in one state will not have problem as long as they are in the same place or managed by the same mahouts or mahouts from the same linguistic ability. But the problem comes only when elephants are sold to other states like from Bihar to Kerala. 

    Susan  Is WTI taking up the issue of not continuing the age old practices for capturing elephants?

    anakuty  Karthik, Undortunately, the "experts" are thinking of finding out ways and means to use the elephants for various works. i think we should gradually reduce the enumber in captivity and then stop this. 

     Karthik  even if we stop.. do u feel we can send back these captive elephants back to forests... ? Do u think they can get adjusted to Jungle rules..? 

    anakuty  Yes. WTI is involved in the debate and we have represented to the Minisry of Environment and Forest requesting them to stop the old practices of acpture like Mela shikar, Pit fall and Kheda. 

    jumbo  I agree with Dr Easa. Actually, capturing from wild is not prevelent now. Is keddha still in vogue? 

    anakuty  THere were incidences of elephants released to wild.  in Nepal 17 were released to wild in 1914. Unfortunately there is no monitoring records. 

    anakuty  Elephant is one animal which does not come back if you release to the wild. You release your dog it comes back. the cat, the cattle everything comes back. elephant does not. that is also why it is called elephants in capttivity not domestic elephants. 

    anakuty  Capture is banned. still there are a few cases where permissions are sought to capture the " problem elephant" raiding the crops or damaging properties. 

    Susan  That is an interesting fact, Dr Easa 

    jumbo  Thanx Dr. Easa for the answers/opinions. It was nice to have u. Thanx to the organisers as well. Looking forward to many more such evenings. Commander Unnithan signing off. 

    Karthik  oh fine.. i stayed in bhadra wildlife sanctuary, karnataka... we have a training centre in sakrebayalu... tried visiting there but never got an opportunity... 

    anakuty  Khedda and other practices are also stopped. But occassionally such things come up again. 

    Susan  Thanks, Comm. Unnithan 

    anakuty  Tamil nadu forest camps are one of the best managed and maintained. Thanx to Late Dr. Krishnamurthy. He put everything in order. 

    Susan  A calf born in captivity has to perforce remain in captivity, I guess.

    Karthik  i do remeber my childhood days.. where i saw elephants in wild.. i was in dandeli.. and studied there till 5th it was really a great time... 

    anakuty  Yes, that is the fate. there are cases where elephant calves from the wild get seperated and brought to captivity. WTI has a Centre for Widl Rescue and Rehabilitattion in Kaziranaga where we do not pamper the calf. We p to release it to the wild. 

    Karthik  those days.. i could see this lord of jungle.. so often in wild but now i go in search to have a glimpse and find so difficult.. TIME has changed a LOT .. :( 

    anakuty  I think there sould be public opinion mobilised at least to save them from the ill treatment. 

    Karthik  but what about the caves born in captivity can we realease them to wild..? 

    Susan  On that sombre note of Kartik, shall we call it a day? 

    anakuty  It is not enough to feed them enough or give exercise. Elephant is a social animal and it has to be treated like that. 

    anakuty  Thank you Susan for this. i p to join every month whenever I have access to computer and internet. 

    Karthik  it was really great time with you experienced persons, hope some day we can see all elephants in jungle & not in captivity :) 

    Karthik  i am person trying to make carrer in wildlife study.. but not finding any opportunity... can i get some guidelines from Dr.essa and Susan 

    Susan  Dr. Easa , may be Kartik can get in touch with you on e mail? 

    Karthik  could i have DR.ESSA e-mail ID..? it will be of great use to me.. 

    Susan  The email id is easaelephant@yahoo.com & easa@wti.org.in 

    Susan  Ok Thanks everyone. We are now closing the chat room. 

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