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Captive Elephants In Circuses
The report on CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS IN CIRCUSES is the outcome of an all-India survey conducted by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Bangalore in technical collaboration with the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), sponsored by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA).
click on the page to download the complete PDF version of the report

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The 3rd part published on April 26 explained how elephants loose vision. -
90% of kerala's elephants are blind. Mahouts make them blind. Dr. Sasindradev and Dr. Sabu.C.Issac of kottayam district elephant squad disclosed this. 

Please read through to the end, and ESPECIALLY THE LAST ENTRY.


On 1 May 2008, Salini S wrote:

A series by Mathew .P. Jacob about elephant torture was published in Kerala Kaumudi from April 24 to 28. The 3rd part published on April 26 explained how elephants loose vision. -
90% of kerala's elephants are blind. Mahouts make them blind. Dr. Sasindradev and Dr. Sabu.C.Issac of kottayam district elephant squad disclosed this.
Elephant's musth period coincides with festival season of Kerala.
To prevent the natural musth, drugs are administered to el.
Now the el need only slight provocation to turn violent.
Mahouts will be their first targets.
To prevent el from seeing them when they turn violent, mahouts destroy el eyesight by various techniques. They destroy at least one eye of el and make other eye partially blind.
One is to drop the eyes with the juice of 'appathin seed'.
Rarely they use the knife-edge thotti to pierce and destroy eyes.
They do this away from everyone when they take el to distant festivals and workplaces.

If the retina is destroyed vision will be lost.
If anyone asks about the wound they will say it was due accidental touching of stick. Beating of el head with thotti and iron rod leads to loss of vision.
Each beating is taken on the soft head of el which is the vital part of el.
El will wriggle with pain when beaten with iron rod.
It will affect internal organs of els. The nerves to eyes are affected badly.
Repeated beating leads to blood clotting of veins and it gets destroyed.
Darkness will fall on eyes.
It is the right eye, which is damaged most. Because mahouts beat mainly the right side of head.

The el Muralikrishnan that died recently in Arookutti did not have vision in both eyes.
This elephant that had swollen leg with a large wound was being taken to festival site from work site in a lorry when it fell from lorry.
With a rope tied to its neck it was lifted with a crane and made to hang.
The sight of the el partially hanging on the rope was a heartbreaking sight.
Afterwards it fell down dead and departed to the world of no cruelties.
One of the biggest els in Asia thechikattukavu ramachandran has his one eye swollen and protruded out.

Festival season starts from the middle of November.
During March, April festival reaches its peak.
If musth happens, cause financial loss to owners and agencies.
the el is made into partial conscious state by giving ammonia and narcotics.
Food and water are not given to el during festivals so that el if turn musth does not have strength to cause destruction.

Els take a long time to eat. During busy festival season eating is only namesake.
Changing the hormones by giving naksomikka, navasara paste, kaduka kashay, beladona homeo drug 4ven mixed with jaggery.
To postpone musth to month antinitrogen, for a year trogelin compound drugs given.
Easy way is to give alcohol. All these are given in whatever doses they like.
The owners, those who take els loan from owners do this.
Now these chemicals have become part of el diet.
Musth is a natural process after 18 years. It happens regularly in healthy ranges from 1 month to even 6 months in some els.
This time no work should be done and els should be given rest.
In guruvayur Devaswom rest is given, so their els rarely turn violent.
Devaswoms are in no need to make money out of els like others do- kk article by Mathew Jacob, 2nd part, apr 25.

Same day by V. Jayakumar, kottayam: The High Court on elephant care on March 14, 08 contain 31 clauses.
From 11am-3pm els should not be paraded.
Wet sack should be laid where els stand, water should be poured in between, forest officers under range officer should monitor people, a separate committee for els, Permission of Chief Wildlife Warden must for taking els from one district to another.
Mahout should keep 5 registers that of movement, food, work, medicine and vaccine, daily fitness certificate.
When els taken in lorry roof covered so that to prevent fall of sunlight, musth els should not be taken out, distance between els during ezhunnallippu not less than 4m, 250 kg of palm leaves should be given per day, enough water leaves should be given, under district collector a committee for elephant care should be constituted, such 31 suggestions were ordered by high court division bench when el lovers association filed a case.
El owners association approached high court against this and got a stay.
El turned violent in koodalmanikyam temple.
If the 31 rules were enforced, the death of 3 persons should have been prevented.

Aatingal: whatever mahout venu asks, the elephant Ravi, 45 replies.
Venu does not scold or beat Ravi.
The el is owned by venkulam ramachandran pillai.
Are the elephant's unnikrishnan of thiruvalla poabson group that turned violent in koodalmanikyam temple in Iringalakuda,
Thrissur and the elephant bastin vinayasankar that turned violent kumbhakuda procession in kottayam kuttikattu Devi temple festival fine now?
Owners and mahouts behave cruelly to elephants that rebellious.



Torture season begins for elephants

K. Santhosh

StateTrends Festival season is celebration time for humans, but for elephants it is a season of torture. Unscientific training methods, mindless torture and poor upkeep are telling on the elephant population in the State and their behaviour.


THRISSUR: Torture season begins for elephants in Kerala in
As the curtain goes up on festivals and percussion ensembles drum up excitement, the State makes yet another painful and dangerous tryst with exploitation of elephants.
The pachyderms are made to walk long distances on tarred roads and stand unendingly on concrete surfaces.
As a result, most of them have pockets of infection under their feet or toenails, veterinarians say.
Section 12 of a Government Order (No 12/2003/F&WLD) dated February 26, 2003, prohibits `marching an elephant over tarred roads for long, during the hottest period of the day, for religious or any other purpose'.
The order also prohibits `making the elephant stand in the scorching sun for unreasonably long duration, and bursting crackers when the elephant is around'.
"Elephant owners and mahouts care two hoots for the law," says K.C. Panicker, veterinarian and secretary of the Kerala Elephant Welfare Association.
Elephants are sorely uncomfortable on tar and concrete. "Blisters are unbearable for the animals. If one foot gets infected, the elephant would repeatedly shift all the weight to the other feet. These legs too would then feel tired," says P.C. Alex, veterinarian with the Kerala Agricultural University.
Feet are the gauge of an elephant's overall health. Use of custom-made boots for the animals is recommended.
"If the feet get infected, rest is essential. But the owners, who are eager to send the elephants to the maximum number of festivals and earn more, give the animals no rest," says Dr. Panicker.
The elephants are also mostly ill-fed and not given enough water. An elephant normally drinks between 200 to 250 litres of water every day.
Training is torture

Training elephants mostly involves physical abuse and complete domination of the animals. "Training the pachyderm requires a great deal of patience. Mahouts are impatient with slow learners. Torture accompanies lessons. Groups of people sometimes beat up a chained elephant in a practice called `Nunachattam' when a new mahout takes charge. The practice rests on the belief that a bond develops between the elephant and the mahout when it is nursed to normality. The method is unscientific and resembles a scene from an absurd play," says V.K. Venkitachalam, secretary, Kerala Elephant Lovers' Association (Ana Premi Sanghom).
Belief also goes that when a male elephant is in musth, it can be controlled only if it is made weak through torture and poor feeding. `Musth' is a Hindi word meaning `intoxicated'. When a male elephant is in musth, its level of testosterone will rise dramatically by a factor of 20 or more.
`Musth' might last up to 60 days as the male elephant wait for mating. The animal displays aggressive behaviour during this period. The elephant will dramatically reduce his food intake and burn up much of his fat reserves.
The temporal gland between the eyes and ears swell and discharge a viscous secretion. There is continual dribbling of urine too. "Despite several programmes to create awareness among mahouts, elephants are tortured when they show signs of `musth'. Mahouts have a wrong notion that they can control the elephants only if the animals are weak," says Dr. Panicker.
The elephant retaliates when the torture is unbearable. According to the Elephant Lovers' Association, the number of mahouts killed by elephants rose from 18 in 1997-`99 to 46 in 2003-`05.
The number of elephant deaths rose from 137 in 1997-`99 to 384 in 2003-`05.
No records

The Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules 2003 state that elephant owners and mahouts should maintain records of elephant disease and treatment. Fitness certificates and vaccination records should be available for verification whenever the elephant is taken out.
"Most of the mahouts do not carry the records. The rules also state that the fitness of the elephant should be checked every day while it is taken out, by the panchayat or town veterinary officer, but this rule is never observed," says Mr. Venkitachalam.
Some animal lovers are against transporting the elephants on trucks.
"Being isolated can make the elephant aggressive," says Mr. Venkitachalam.
Awareness programmes alone will not alleviate the plight of elephants, animal rights activists say.
Only comprehensive and effective legislation will.

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Elephant collapses on road, torture alleged

By Our Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA, JULY 22. A 68-year-old captive elephant, Renju, attached to the Elephant Camp of the Forest Department at Konni, collapsed on the Konni-Adoor Road this afternoon, allegedly owing to lack of proper care by the authorities and physical torture by mahouts.
The elephant was reportedly taken out for a bath in the nearby Achencoil River by a new mahout in the morning. The animal collapsed while returning to the camp in the afternoon.
The doctors from the Government Veterinary Hospital at Konni rushed to the spot and administered glucose fluid to the animal. It was brought back to the camp by 6 p.m.
Vehicular traffic on the Konni-Adoor Road was disrupted for about two-and-a-half hours following the incident.
There were allegations of torture of elephants at the camp by the mahouts with the connivance of certain Forest personnel.
The Elephant Protection Council general secretary, Salim P. Chacko, and the Konni Development Society leaders, Jagish Babu and Vinod Elakolloor, condemned the incident and demanded a detailed inquiry.

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Kerala Tips » Elephants, torture, religious festivals and death
Elephants suffer as well

Elephants in Kerala suffer unforgivable torture

WHAT TORTURE! Elephants being physically tortured with spears

Last month a full-grown tusker was captured under the orders of the Kerala Forest Minister and underwent `training' required to make him obedient. During the training, the elephant was tortured to death. The news did not bring national outcry and so Animal Talk wishes to highlight his story and others like him. Though assumed rogue and captured by the Kerala Forest Department (KFD) with the proposal to `train' him, the real reason was that tribals complained about him destroying crops, allegedly killing people. Being a lone elephant who loves koda the illicit liquor brew, commonly manufactured in the Kottur region, he was an animal who fit the profile of a rogue. There was no data available with the Forest Department of an official study or enquiry into the allegation of loss of crops and human life this elephant may have caused. Even the practice of khedda (wild elephant capture operations), had been banned by the Indian Government decades ago because it left several elephants severely maimed and injured.

Government Orders have banned elephant capture following the brutal training and eventual death of an elephant as these examples illustrate:
In Kerala, an elephant captured inWynad in 1995 died in the process of training soon afterwards. In Karnataka, training a calf led to its death in 2001. In Chattisgarh, a captured elephant died in 2004, such was the outcry that the practice was discontinued by the Indian Government. There are videos and reports of wild elephant training - both of calves and adults - if seen will send one into bouts of horror and tears.
The animals are brutalised to the point of physical and mental collapse and the violent beatings by sticks, spears (as shown in picture) and the ankush causes such damage that many do not survive the process. The few who do, always carry a great scar and can be dangerous to man and mahout. The human-elephant conflict is growing, and there are many other measures, which can be put into place. In this incident, a strategy to discourage the number of brews in the Podiyakkala Kani tribal settlement range that are attracting wild elephants would greatly benefit. The elephants can be released in the larger landscape of the Periyar- Agasthyamalai. Land-use patterns and immediate compensations procedures are some quick-relief measures.
So why then do we allow the death of elephants through torturein the name of tradition? In the name of the Ministry of Wildlife & Forests? In the name of the Circus? Cirque du Soleil, a French - Canadian Circus that is the ultimate form of Circus entertainment - does not use a single animal and is the most sought after and successful one in the world. It is time these practices of elephant torture - both obsolete and illegal- are dealt with in the manner they deserve.
What you can do? Send a protest letters to authorities:
1. Shri Binoy Viswam , Hon'ble Minister for Environment and Forests,
State Secretariat, Trivandrum, Kerala
Fax No: +91- 0471- 2326677/ 2322217
2. The PCCF & Chief Wildlife Warden
Kerala Email: pccf@
3. Hon'ble Union Minister for Environment & Forests
Ministry of Wildlife & Forests , New Delhi.2.
4. Director, Project Elephant
(Photo and information credit: The Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Center (WRRC), Bangalore)


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Elephant `tortured' to death

By Our Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA, FEB. 24. In yet another case of alleged cruelty to elephants by ill-trained mahouts, a domesticated 45-year-old elephant died at Mannarakottappady, near Kulanada, on the Kaippuzha-Panangad Road on Monday evening.
The elephant, Manikantan, belonged to a timber merchant who runs a sawmill at Panangad. The pachyderm was reportedly taken for a bath to the nearby river. According to eyewitnesses, the elephant was beaten up badly by the mahouts when it showed signs of hesitation to enter the river.
The pachyderm reportedly turned a little violent when it was tortured to get into the river waters. They said all the three mahouts attending on the tusker were in an inebriated state and had tortured the elephant in their efforts to get it out of the river too. A large number of local people had gathered on the riverbank to witness the incident when the elephant turned violent.
They said the mahouts had hit the elephant with rock pieces and sharp iron implements.
The pachyderm with contusion all over the body and cut injuries on the leg was `tamed', later, and was taken to the road around 3 p.m. The tusker was reportedly found weary and it collapsed when it reached Mannarakkottupady near Kaippuzha Elanjickalkavu, the local people said.
Meanwhile, the three mahouts escaped from the scene after sensing the death of the elephant. The tusker's carcass was lying on the road till it was reportedly removed to an `unknown' destination by some unidentified people late in the night, the local people said.
Ironically, the police at Pandalam are feigning innocence saying that no complaint had been registered in this connection so far.
Meanwhile, the reporter of a local daily was allegedly manhandled by the owner of the elephant when the former sought details of the mahouts. The owner was not willing to disclose the identity of the mahouts.

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Apr 9, 2007 ... Torture of elephants Nowadays almost on a daily basis, you can see newspaper reports of elephants going mad and killing its mahout. ...

From a citizen of Kerala
We need to work as an international community on this horrific issue. Every species of animal is brutalized in this state ruled by communists. The multifaripus government authorities are in connivance, local animal rights groups do not exist, activists in other parts of India are dysfunctional and impotent.
The soft underbelly of Kerala is tourism. They promote it as God's Own Country' whilst it is "Devil's Own Country'....can you help with an international petition which hits them where it hurts ?
We can publicise it through several means....will appreciate any help or guidance you may be able to provide.