"Role of Captive Elephants in wildlife conservation"
May 18, 2007
IWC members in the chat room
Susan Welcome Dr. Easa , our moderator for" Role of Captive Elephants in wildlife conservation"
elephant Hello Susan, I am ready
Susan While others log in, may be you can prepare the ground.
elephant I was going through the matrials given in the website on captive elephants
elephant The most important part of the article is definitely the number of elephants in captivity. We are not yet sure about the total number and where do they occur
elephant How are they managed? Is there any guidelines followed? Who are the owners? Are the mahouts trained and exposed to management?
Susan Our last chat on the topic was on Captive Elepahnt Management. The link is
elephant What are the actions taken by the government to ensure the welfare of the animals in captivity.
elephant In fact, the rough estimate is about 4000-4500. But there is no surety that this figure is nearer to the actual.
elephant There are elephants in Assam, which are called Bhangorasia. these are let loose in the known forest areas to be taken whenever the owner wants
elephant In a way, it is good that the elephants are let loose. They will have almost near natural life for some time.
elephant Elephants, as everyone knows is a social animal with larger requirements of water and food. This makes them move a lot
elephant This also means that they need a large vast expanse for its long term survival.
elephant This makes them important in many ways.
elephant There had been sevral studies in the wild on the habitat changes and role of elephants in the forests. But there was no attempt to look at the captive elephant role
elephant There was one attempt to analyse the role of captive elephants in wildlife conservation.
elephant What do we expect from a captive population? We expect them to contribute to the population as a whole so that their status as a species will not be endangered
elephant Does captive elephant contribute to the population? A big No. There is hardly any breeding in captivity in India.
elephant The only exception could be elephants with Tamil Nadu forest department and a few of the elephants in Karnataka forest dept. camps
elephant Most of elephants are with private owners and are used either in temples or for other festivals.
elephant Though it is economically good to have an elephant baby, loss due to the rest given to the mother is more and no one wants such a situation.
elephant Yes, I forgot. Where are the females in captivity to breed. Most of them are males due to obvious reasons. Temples, private owners everyone wants a tusker because of the beauty of it.
elephant Tuskers can bring in lot of money when "rented out" to festivals.
elephant Even the most "famous" elephant place in Guruvayur temple in Kerala have only tuskers, which are kept in chains in the same area.
elephant So there is no contribution to the population. Since there is a good demand for elephants in captivity to replace the old and dead ones, more often there is the illegal capture happening, especially from some parts of North east
elephant Thus the demand for captive elephants is advresely affecting the population in the wild.
elephant The captive population of animals are supposed to contribute to the knowledge base of the animals in the wild. How many people have used this population in captivity for understanding more on the various aspects of animals.
AjitVVF hi susan,dr.easa this is ajit seshadri here
elephant This would be evident, if one scan the literature on elephants. Most of the papers have been for seminars and symposia for participation.
elephant Other than treating the elephants based on the knowledge and experience gained by a few, there is not much studies on the diseases of elephants.
AjitVVF elephants kept in urban towns are facing hardship,how do you keep up their wellbeing??
elephant This population in captivity should have been used for understanding the animal more so that in case of emergencies the knowledge would have helped. This also does not happen.
elephant Susan's computer is down because of power failure. But let us continue.
elephant There is something called urban wildlife. Elephant is not a part of this.
elephant There is no welfare standards maintained in any of the places. it is left to the owner to decide on the management.
AjitVVF recently i saw a film on shifting of calfs from one to another forest is this okay,can a keralaelephant adjust with assamese elephant
elephant Except, Kerala, there is no management rules also in place. so the only option is PCA
elephant There is always a problem while elephants are brought to Kerala from North or North east. The commands are different in language and tone. the animal has to suffer
AjitVVF another problem the elephants will face is global warming,shortage of water etc, how will the herd adjust ??
elephant Moreover, it is the purpose for which elephants are brought that is important. It is purely for economic benefits and not because of the love like the traditional Brahmin families had
elephant Even the water available in the area are not accessible to elephants.
elephant At present, elephants in captivity is also doing lots of harm due to the trade in ivory. The tusk of captive elephants are cut to size and beautify.
elephant No body knows where it goes. It should be definitely going to the market helping in illegal trade.
elephant No owner has declared the ivory cut from the elephants.
AjitVVF just for our info how's the indian / regional population of elephants, is it stable,or declining and definitely not on the raise??
elephant Probably the only benefit the wildlife has that there will be more people interested in elephants because of seeing elephants in captivity. But this would have happened even without this.
elephant There are areas where elephants seem to be increasing in population. But most of the populations definitely face problems and the number will be on the decrease
elephant The stable population is also not good in the long run. the population should fluctuate. But the question is also the availability of habitat.
elephant Elephants are deprived of most of the areas due to loss of habitat because of encroachment by people. And they have started moving to other areas where they were known to occur long back.
elephant the best example is parts of Andhra in Kowndinya Wildlife sanctuary. Andhra is known to have had elephants in 1650s and then they disappeared
elephant They moved to these areas. Chattisgarh used to have elephants long back and then disappeared. Now they have moved again to parts of Chattisgarh
elephant There had been movement of elephants from parts of Karnataka to Maharashtra and hen to parts of Goa.
kodanadu Love and respect for these beautiful and graceful animals must come first. Private owners and the mahouts should have some kind of high quality "driving licence".
AjitVVF i wonder how many of us know that APPU was our dear mascot once upon a time in 1982,its sad ,children and adults can enjoy to know so much about elephants.
Susan Dr.Easa, would you say that captive elephants being used for going into the forest by tourists help create interest in conservation?
elephant In fact the owners and other concerned people treat the mahouts only as drivers driving vehicles. they change the driver and evry time, the elephant has to suffer.
Susan Corbett is one place seen best on elephant back.
elephant In fact, there is not much for elephants other than festivals. there had been proposals to make use of them in tourism and protection of forest areas.
Susan The mahouts in Corbett ( Subedar Ali for example) have earned a name for themselves
elephant But, remember whether it is used in tourism to carry tourists or for protection, it is the welfare of the animal that is important.
Susan Is there any forest in the South where elephant rides are there for going into the forest?
elephant The mahouts in Bandavgarh also will be famous not because of their treatment of elephants. it would most probably because the elephants take them to show wildlife.
Susan Elephants used for going into forests are certainly better off than the ones used in urban areas on concrete roads
AjitVVF susan this is a suggestion for next month chat pl keep it on monkeys preserved in outskirts of delhi for thier safe wellbeing ,resource person dr.iqbal mallik of ngo vatavaran ph.no delhi 26499030,you can take my name,
elephant Elephant rides are there in mudumalai and in some parks in Karnataka. There used to be elephant rides in some parks in Kerala. but now most of the parks do not have
elephant Elephant rides through Kaziranga is famous for sighting rhinos.
Susan Kuttyana and Kodanadu, any remarks?
Susan Thank you Ajit for the suggestion
kuttyana Cdr Unnithan from mumbai as kuttyana
elephant At present , Keraa does not have any facility for rehabilitation of elephants coming from the wild and hence it adds to the captive population.
elephant Hai Cdr.
Susan "Coming from the Wild" or Caught in the wild?
AjitVVF is it possible to create some zoo to keep say 3 to 4 varities of elephants from kerala,maharashtra,orissa,
elephant In fact all the elephants coming from the wild or caught from the wild should go back to the wild, which means rehabilitation.
kodanadu I am from Sweden and one of my lovliest memory is when Parvati from Kodanadu elephant center recognised me and my daughter from the year before and showered us all over in elephant trunk kisses. i will never forget. She is like a very very
kuttyana Hi Susan, Sorry for netting in late
Susan Mr. Mike pandey is creating an exclusive park in Chhatisgarh for rehabilitating Rajasthan ( Amer Palace) elephants.
elephant most of the calves in north east comes to captivity due to conflict with human beings, trapped in ditches in tea gardens. And those in Kerala come from flood or so.
kuttyana I hope you had seen the mother and calf falling in to the ditch at night, and the next morning the villagers assembled, applauded and made them to come up? It was a fine clipping of Asianet from somewhere kerala.
elephant These should be managed in such a way that after attaining an age, it should be released back to the wild instead of keeping them in captivity to suffer.
kuttyana Hi Susan, how are you?
elephant Yes, there are such rare incidents.
Susan Yes, Kodanadu, people fall in love with captive animals first, before they learn to respect the wild. For many of us pets in childhood are an inspiration to take up wildlife conservation
Susan Cdr, I am fine Nice to see you.
elephant Haryana is also planning a centre. Of all the places, Haryana!!
kodanadu In Kodanadu they save abandoned or injured elephant babies. If there is a possibility for rehabilitation I think it's the best solution.
Susan Where in Haryana ?
kuttyana The chat room is not moving or...
elephant I am yet to know. But the proposal is there for Haryana
Susan Where is Kodanadu?
kuttyana I think I lost the link
elephant Proposal is there for kerala and assam
AjitVVF yes i agree with susan,the cradle likes go all the way in our lives,
elephant I do not think that only captive elephants will attract the child. the wild will also do that and nowadays, there are more facilities for such sightings in lots of areas.
Susan Rather than having so many centres in various states, I wish we had one big Park exclusively for rehabilitated elephants
AjitVVF planning a centre in haryana will be deadly with no permanent water source other than ground water !!!
kodanadu Kodanadu is about 40 - 50 kilometer notheast of Cochin by the Periyar river.
elephant Susan, Kodanadu is in Kerala near malayattur ( Kaladi). they have some elephants in captivity.
Susan Thanks, I never new about this place in Kerala
elephant Kodanadu is visited by hundreds of people for other animals also. unfortunately, the situation is bad.
Susan Is kodanadu a sanctuary ?
AjitVVF susan you would be aware also that house boats and elephants are a great attraction,dal lake immigrants have come to kerala back waters
elephant On tourism, the elephants used in tourism are all not that healthy. there are one eyed and some of them might not have been scanned for diseases like TB.
elephant Kodanad is not a sanctuary but on the fringe of Malayattur forests.
Susan Yes, Kerala now has houseboats anfd Elephants! It is really the focus of tourists from all over. Good enough reason to pump in more money and awareness programs for elephants.
AjitVVF dr.easa, it must be a task for a vet to examine an elephant
elephant Susan, I can share some of the photographs of elephant hit by moving vehicles. It is really pathetic and it died. Pl. remind me. this is from assam on the way to karbi anglong.
kodanadu The mini zoo is horrible but the elephants can at least bathe in the river twice a day. Then unfortunately they are chained. The mahouts seem very nice and loving to them. The tourists come in the morning for the bath. Then there is nobody.
Susan tiger kid, please join in with your comments/questions
tigerkid Sorry I am a little late, I just wanted to know about the viability of asking for elephant corridors connecting the West Bengal habitats
elephant No. It is not a task. But the pity is that the vets are not taught on elephants. they are taught on several other animals.
Susan Yes, dr Easa, Please send them in
tigerkid And how exactly one can go about asking for such movements
elephant North bengal habitats are highly degraded and this would be a herculean task, I should congratulate some of the people from W. Bengal who wanted to do this. the government is also keen.
tigerkid That is what I wanted to know, you know, what in ur opinion is the best way to pressurize the governemtn into doing this
elephant There is also the problem of elephant getting killed by train. The CM was also keen to address this issue and solve it. We are trying.
tigerkid Whether to appeal to the Centre or to the Bhattacharjee government
Susan Are elephants a state subject or centre subject?
elephant We have already inititaed some dialogue with the local NGO and I am hopeful of achieving some level of success provided the tea estate management co-operates.
tigerkid ELephants are on the concurrent list
AjitVVF if we can think to have ILR-inter linking of rivers then elephant corridors is possible,then a kerals appu can mingle with an assamese friend!!
tigerkid so u are in support of ILR?
tigerkid ILR spells doom for forests many of which will be submerged
elephant WE can appeal to all. State or centre. when it comes to elephants in the state, it is business of the state. But state will write to Centre for any permission related to Schedule I animal.
AjitVVF ILR is a difficult subject to discuss , i am open to take it on later !!, susan can circulate all our ids to all of us "the appu gang of today" !!
tigerkid Dr. Easa, can I have ur email id
tigerkid Sir, I am a student in the shri ram school, you might remember giving us a talk last year on various elephant issues
Susan It is impossible to teach animals ( even with elephantine memory) to respect state borders
elephant I am in suport of ILR . ILR is "good" so that there will not be anything called endemic to Ganga, endemic to Krishna, Cauvery. All are same. scientifically, ecologically ridiculous.
elephant Oh. My mail ID is email@example.com
tigerkid i did not understand your reasoning about ILR
elephant It is as good as mingling different blood groups.
tigerkid U are calling it ridiculous yet supporting it
AjitVVF shriram school is good keep it up !! i love your madhu bhatnagar's evrnmntl doings in school etc!!
elephant The statement was negative.
Susan Dr.Easa was being sarcastic
Susan So, friends, thanks for a lively chat!
tigerkid thank god u were being sarcastic
elephant I think it is important to tell every one that animals are best in its natural environment. Human beings are happy when they are free and not in jail.
tigerkid thank u sir
elephant I strongly feel that there should be concerted efforts to convey the message that animals kept in captivity are to be maintained and it should not be for fun.
Susan tigerkid, if you want to read titbits about ILR , see our Blog on interlinking rivers.
elephant Thank you all and it would be good to exchanging information and views through e mail.
Susan Thank you Dr Easa and all participants
Susan Shall we call it a day?
kodanadu Thank you from Sweden!
Susan Thank you all I am closing the chat room
elephant Great day and keep in touch
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