World Animal Protection Urges Immediate and Proper Rehabilitation for Captive Elephants in India Amidst Growing Deadly Incidents

World Animal Protection is alarmed to note the recent incidents of elephants turning violent in Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal and causing bodily damage and human deaths. A Russian tourist was attacked by an elephant in the precincts of Amer Fort in Jaipur recently, several elephants turned violent during festivals in Kerala and a man was trampled to death in a temple in Kerala and a mahout was crushed to death by an elephant in the ISKCON temple in Mayapur in West Bengal.

Elephants at Haathi Gaon in Jaipur Credit : Shubhobroto Ghosh/World Animal Protection

All these instances reveal a serious lack of welfare measures and illustrate the weakness of keeping elephants in captivity in constrained surroundings. We ought to ensure that elephant abuse in captivity is ended by stopping the entry of wild elephants into captivity. We also stress that elephants currently in abusive situations in captivity are rehabilitated properly following best protocols and preferably in their home states and elephant range states,” says Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection in India.

Regarding the recent incident of an elephant killing a mahout in ISKCON temple in Mayapur, World Animal Protection has written a letter to the Chief Wildlife Warden of West Bengal, urging proper rehabilitation of the two elephants held at ISKCON temple. “We strongly maintain that elephants are wild animals and should be cherished where they belong in the wild. It has been brought to our attention that this particular elephant has turned aggressive on at least one earlier occasion, endangering the life of a mahout. We implore the forest department of West Bengal to take cognizance of this unfortunate incident and look into rehabilitating the ISKCON temple elephants ideally and preferably to a protected forest area within West Bengal,” says Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection in India.

Information indicates that ISKCON has obtained elephants from Assam, a natural elephant range state. According to World Animal Protection, ISKCON can choose to voluntarily relinquish their two elephants and continue to promote compassion for all living creatures through their teachings, murals, paintings, artwork and light and sound shows. The elephant as a revered cultural figure in India that is India’s National Heritage Animal will have much to gain if they are respected where they belong in the wild in states like West Bengal and Assam and not brought unnecessarily into captivity, particularly in states that are not natural elephant range states.

World Animal Protection also hopes that the recent incidents expedite the retirement of the captive elephants in Amer Fort and an end to the cruel elephant rides in Jaipur.

For more information please contact : Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection :


Shubhobroto Ghosh, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection :


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