Plea in Kerala HC against recent capture, training of 2 wild elephants

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Kochi, Jan 29 (PTI) A plea has been moved in the Kerala High Court against the recent capture of two wild elephants which had forayed into inhabited areas in Palakkad and Wayanad districts of the state and created panic among locals there, saying the actions of the forest department were illegal.

In the petition moved by Angels Nair, general secretary of NGO Animal Legal Force Integration, he has alleged that the capture and subsequent training being provided to the two tuskers was "illegal", as the elephants were tranquilised and caught from inside the forest, and has sought an investigation by CBI or any other agency into the same.

He has also opposed the capture of four tigers from the high-range district of Wayanad in the last few months, claiming that the big cats were being kept in captivity in violation of the guidelines and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The tigers were captured by the Wildlife and Forest department after several attacks on humans and domesticated animals by the big cats, terrorising the local populace.

Nair, in his plea, has contended that the two captured tuskers are being illegally trained to become 'kumki' elephants which are captive pachyderms used in operations for trapping and capturing other elephants.

He has claimed that elephant training in India was banned and the Kerala government order of 2018 permitting training of 'kumki' elephants was illegal.

"The state government has no administrative power for grant permission for any purpose under the Wildlife Protection Act. Such powers for the state government had been omitted by an amendment in 1982," his petition claims.

Therefore, not only training, use of 'kumki' elephants is also illegal, the petition claims.

Nair has also alleged that the training measures are cruel as water and food are denied to the elephant to tame it.

He has claimed that use of crackers, firearms, unscientific erection of electric fences and trenches to deprive wild animals from basic need of water and food and obstructing their free movement was a common practice in Kerala and "the major cause of increase in human wildlife conflict".

His plea claims that one of the two captured tuskers had 15 pellet wounds.

"The current human-wildlife conflicts in the entire state are being created by the mismanaged conservation and unscientific degradation and deforestation. Instead of rectifying the failure the department swings according to the vote bank...," the petition alleges.

It has sought directions from the high court to stop training of the two tuskers and release them into the wild and quashing the 2018 government order permitting training and use of 'kumki' elephants.

Besides, it also sought release, into the wild, of the four tigers in captivity and a probe by the CBI or State Vigilance Department or any other independent agency into the allegedly illegal training of the wild elephants. PTI HMP HDA HDA