Chat Archives
Chat on "Role of Captive Elephants in wildlife conservation" dated May 18, 2007

    IWC members in the chat room

    AjitVVF-Ajit Seshadri
    tigerkid- Tigerkid

    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 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 good friend. 

    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. 
    tigerkid  hfh 
    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   
    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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