Chat Archives
Chat on "Chat on Asian Elephant" dated January 18, 2003

    Susan  Hi Welcome to IWC chat on the 'Asian Elephant' 

    Susan  Welcome MKSP

    MKSP  Pasha is online 

    Susan  Till such time as others join in, can we have a simple overview on the status of Asian elephant in India?

    Susan  Welcome Amrita 

    Amrita I just completed a small dessertation on Asian elephant 

    Susan  What is the focus of your dessertation? 

    Amrita It is quite sad that they are quite a few left in the wild and are on a slippery slope to extinction 

    MKSP  Amrita Hi! It's interesting, what exactly your dessertation is all about 

    Amrita  I lost my focus 

    Amrita  I got confused and badly messed up my project 

    MKSP  So in the end what all you managed to compile ?

    Susan  Mr. Pasha can you hazard a guess on how many real wild elephants are there? 

    MKSP  The present estimated population of free ranging wild elephants in India is just over 20,000. 

    MKSP  A major new study The South and South East Asian Ivory Markets into the illegal ivory trade shows a massive movement of ivory from Africa to Asia. But, the ivory doesn't stay long in Asia

    Amrita  I started with history, laws reg elephants in the wild, touched on elephants in captivity, CITES, ivory pros and the human and elephant issue 

    Amrita  Asia has just become a route or a tade centre 

    Susan  Hi Sandeep 

    Sandeep  Hi all 

    MKSP  The Asian elephant is listed in Schedule I of India’s Wild Life (Protection) Act (which bans all trade in ivory), in the Endangered category of the IUCN Red Data List and in Appendix I of CITES. 

    Amrita  No doubt the elephant has the highest protection 

    Amrita  but what is sad is that India is the highest hit with the problem of human and elephant conflicts and majority are killed by humans by poisoning 

    Jyotsna  me,shivani & richa are here :) 

    Susan  Hi jyotsna & friends 

    Susan  Amrita, while it is true that some rogue elephants are killed by irate farmers, the largest threat is loss of habitat & corridors 

    MKSP  Poisoning is the major method used for killing elephants 

    MKSP  Some scientific work and compilation is going on to document the different poisons being used and the methods by which elephants are being killed  

    MKSP  Sadly very recently in some areas of Orissa, Meghalaya, South India elephants have been killed by electrocution (live wire poaching) 

    Sandeep  Mr.Pasha is there still capturing of wild elephants in any part of India  ?

    MKSP  A major new study The South and South East Asian Ivory Markets into the illegal ivory trade shows a massive movement of ivory from Africa to Asia. But, the ivory doesn't stay long in Asia. 

    MKSP  The present estimated population of free ranging wild elephants in India is just over 20,000. 

    MKSP  Mr. Sandeep - capturing for what ? 

    Sandeep  for human needs.. working , temple festivals.... 

    Amrita  Mr Pasha the domestic elephanats also find their way in the illegal trade 

    MKSP  Yes there are reports of elephants being captured in North-east and transported illegally to South India and that is why now the Govt. of India with Project Elephant Dirocterate has started a plan of implanting micro-chips into all domestic elephants under license. 

    Amrita  There are around 3000 to 4000 elephants in captivity and I feel it is good because it is kind of an insurance that in case  the population in the wild becomes extinct.   

    Amrita  Sir, there is a place in Sri Lanka 

    Amrita  keep baby elephants in captivity and later reintorduce them in the wild  and it has been quite sucessfull .

    Amrita  Dont' you think a similar thing will work in India 

    Sandeep  Now the captive elephants are not so safe... last month in Kerala an elephant in captivity was killed by some unknown people for its tusk 

    Susan  SriLanka has an elephant orphanage. Nepal has a breeding centre. About reintroducing into wild I am not so sure. 

    Sandeep  Will the wild elephants accept the elephants which spend some days with man ?

    MKSP  Rescue Centre - concept is setting in India and an NGO - Wildlife trust of India has opened one in North-East (close to Kaziranga NP) 

    MKSP  That is just a rescue centre. Where they try rescue and rehabilitate the displaced wild elephant calves. Till such time they are kept  in captivity 

    Amrita  The mud and the stool covered on the body help in finishing the human smell 

    Amrita  I had gone to Yamuna,  that is the place in Delhi, where elephants are kept  …

    Susan  Welcome Ritika, join in 

    Ritika  Hey everyone... Just got back from an awesome trip to Corbett 

    Sandeep  amritha you are right today there are many new elephant keepers.. but it is a need as the number of elephants in captivity is more when compared to olden times 

    Amrita  and was shocked to see they restore to beating the elephant 

    MKSP  Social life of elephants - Elephants are very social animals. They live in small herds composed of a group of females, or cows, and their young (calves) which are led by an older, experienced cow called the matriach. 

    MKSP  Well,  just to make you people aware,  about 40% of the elephants in Jaipur used for tourists are blind and yet driven for work 

    MKSP  The elephants that AMRITA is talking about at Yamuna- many of these have foot ailments, eye infection and are diet deficient too. People should raise voice 

    Ritika  40% are blind ????? Gawd I went to Jaipur just last month but I was told by the mahouts that they really look after their elephants 

    Amrita  The cost of an elephant, please correct me if I am wrong, is 6 to 7 lakhs 

    Jyotsna  My dad takes tours to Corbett & recently saw 2 tigers there...did u have any luck :) 

    Ritika  nope jyotsna - no luck with tigers although we heard one growling while he was sitting in the water hole 

    Amrita  I read that the elephants are given some kind of drugs to bring them into submission 

    MKSP  This used to happen in the clolonial times, to make them work more for timber practices. Now I really donot know exactly? 

    Ritika  What do you guys feel about these elephant safaris ? Do you think it is okay to tame them for rides or should they be free in the wild ? In Corbett they have about 10 elephants that they use for safaris 

    MKSP  Katy Payne did this break through research of infrasonic communication in elephants and is the scientist who has devoted her life for studying their communication. 

    Ritika  And what can we do to help the plight of these magnificent animals ? 

    MKSP  Anyone of you interested can have a look at this website http://birds.cornell.edu/BRP/EleLP.html for more details on elephant communication 

    MKSP  well just to brush up - The word "elephant" comes from the Greek word elephas, meaning ivory, in reference to the animal's prominent tusks, which are actually elongated incisor teeth. Excepting tusks, elephants have only four molar teeth. These teeth are replaced as they are worn away, up to six times throughout an elephant's life. 

    Jyotsna  Since male elephants r very few & the population of females is not in proportion...would that affect their breeding? 

    MKSP  Yes the imbalence in sex ratios would definitely affect the breeding success of elephants 

    MKSP  This would provide a check to a greater extent on illegal capture of elephants from the wild 

    Jyotsna  Wot about the elephants in captivity? 

    MKSP  Well as far as the captive elephants are concerened they canot replace the ones in the wild and neither it is advisable to reintroduce them into the wild 

    MKSP  The Kerala killing has definitely raised concern and we need to look at this more cautiously 

    Sandeep  Amritha,  the cost of the elephant depends on its height beauty and behaviour .... all it depends on the demand it may even cost to 15 lakh 

    Amrita  The other problem is of the Mahouts elephant keepers in India. today anybody and everybody is becoming one 

    MKSP  The rescue elephants are taken care of by expert animal keeprs and one has to follow certain laid down protocols for handling such animals 

    MKSP  How do you say that unskilled people are also becoming mahouts - Amrita 

    Amrita  I believe Wildlife Trust of India is working ….

    MKSP  Yes Dr. Ashraf from WTI makes a regular visit but alone for him is not easy to handle this 

    Jyotsna  hey Ritika..wot did u see in corbett? 

    Ritika  Believe it or not... I love to see elephants int he wild and in the summer you see them by the dozens but this time not even one. Seems they go higher into the forest in the winters for bamboo 

    MKSP  The jaipur case I got to know after conducting a health camp for these elephants along with Dr. Ashraf 

    Amrita  What is the current scenario in Jaipur 

    MKSP  You can contact Dr. Ashraf at WTI for an update 

    Ritika  Tell me something though... how come tame elephants live longer than wild ones ? 

    Amrita  I guess wild have a longe live if they are left alone from the humans 

    MKSP  The tame elephants tend to live longer as they are stall fed, and their welfare is being taken care off. But in the wild they have to fend for food, suffer from disease, several other factors 

    Jyotsna  ???????? 

    Ritika  No Amrita, I believe they live longer when they are tamed 

    Amrita  The elephant in captivity has the same protection as the elephant in the wild under Wild Life Protection Act. Both tiger and elephant come under schedule 1.  Then how come I can keep an elephant in captivity and with a tiger I would be severly penalised ?

    MKSP  The elephant's lifespan is aprox. up to 60 years 

    Sandeep  is the 60 years lifespan in wild ?

    Ritika  What do you guys feel about these elephant safaris ? Do you think it is okay to tame them for rides or should they be free in the wild ? In Corbett they have about 10 elephants that they use for safaris. 

    Ritika  Can we do anything to help ? 

    MKSP  Elephants communicate with each other through infrasonic calls 

    Amrita  Could you elaborate more on these infrasonic communication 

    Sandeep  Is there any research done among Asian elephants on communication.. 

    MKSP  http://www.spotlight.st/elephantworld/links/ (this website has some more interesting links about elephant info.) 

    Sandeep  You can have a look at http://www.elephantvoices.org/ to read more about elephant communication 

    MKSP  Thanks Sandeep I had a look the website seems nice. I will go through it later 

    MKSP  Anyone of you interested can have a look at this website http://birds.cornell.edu/BRP/EleLP.html for more details on elephant communication 

    MKSP  Katy Payne did this break through research of infrasonic communication in elephants and is the scientist who has devoted her life for studying their communication. 

    Amrita  www.elephantcare.org 

    Amrita  Zooreach also has some programmes in Coimbatore for domestic elephants 

    MKSP  What kind of programme 

    Amrita  They train the mahouts 

    Amrita  and give them good vets which again is lacking in some areas 

    MKSP  Nice to hear that -about zoo-outreach 

    Sandeep Is the training programme still going on  ?

    MKSP  Do they train mahouts of only south or for across India  ?

    Sandeep  Not much use of such training programmes because the training is given on a really calm elephant ... and those trained mahouts can do nothing with the really agressive elephants.

    Ritika  And what can we do to help the plight of these magnificent animals ?  

    MKSP  In case you people are interested to know more about elephants then you can Contact Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh at Wildlife Institute of India, DehraDun or Dr. R. Sukumar at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 

    MKSP  Thanks all of you for joining for the Elephant chat. 

    Ritika  Bye all... 

    Susan  Thanks all of you, Mr Pasha will wind up the chat 

    MKSP  Thanks all of you. Bye 

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