On the occasion of World Elephant Day, World Animal Protection has urged the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to end elephant rides and retire the elephants to a wildlife friendly sanctuary. More than 500 individuals participated in a rally to highlight the plight of captive elephants used for rides in Amer Fort in Jaipur. The volunteers of Lending Hands Foundation, alongside several schools, Rang Mastaaney, Kanoria Mahila Vidyalaya, Rajasthan Environment and Energy Conservation Center and S S Jain Subodh P G College in Jaipur took a rally around Jawahar Circle in Jaipur to support the cause of elephant protection and humane treatment of India’s National Heritage Animal. One hundred thousand signatures from people in India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Denmark are being handed over to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to end elephant rides in Amer Fort.
Walk for elephants in Jaipur for World Elephant Day World Animal Protection
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection in India said, “Today, elephants are facing an existential challenge in both the wild and in captivity. The 80 elephants in Amer fort deserve better than to give daily rides in a place that is not their home range state. Today’s walk of citizens from across a range of institutions is a plea to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to end the cruel spectacle of elephant rides in Jaipur in favour of more humane alternatives that benefit both humans and elephants.”
Amer Fort Jaipur elephant photograph April 2023 Shubhobroto Ghosh World Animal Protection
Extensive scientific studies done over the years have shown various problems that are associated with elephants kept in captivity and specifically, the elephants of Jaipur in Amer Fort and Haathi Gaon. Elephants have complex and varied needs that can include sometimes walking for more than twenty kilometres in a day in the wild. The conducive conditions for welfare of elephants in the wild cannot be recreated in captive situations like Amer Fort and the prevalent conditions in Haathi Gaon.
World Animal Protection has published several reports on captive elephant welfare, including the ‘Taken For A Ride’ reports:
The findings of World Animal Protection are in consonance with the government’s own suggestions made for captive elephants in Jaipur that recommends replacing elephant rides with motorized electric vehicles.
The captive elephants of Jaipur endure constant stress and suffer from many ill effects of captivity caused due to confined conditions. Many elephants show severe signs of abnormal behaviour, swaying from side to side. The captive elephants of Jaipur at Amer fort and Haathi Gaon are fed an inadequate diet, as evidenced by the crisis witnessed there during the coronavirus crisis when their maintenance became a burden for the owners. In the aftermath of coronavirus, it has been stated that proximity to wild animals like the ones in Amer fort and Haathi Gaon can give rise to zoonotic diseases and adversely affect the health of both humans and elephants.
In the aftermath of coronavirus, the motto is ‘bring back better’ for tourism and this applies to Jaipur, a World Heritage City. The captive elephants of Jaipur represent a cruelty that is avoidable on the rich tapestry and historical significance of a World Heritage City.
“We appeal to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to take whatever steps are necessary to phase out elephant rides in Amer Fort and rehabilitate the captive elephants to a facility that is suited for their needs, maybe one can be created in Bisalpur,” stated Dr. Amruta Badheka, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection in India.
On the occasion of World Elephant Day in 2023, on behalf of all participants in the event, students, teachers and individuals from all walks of life, World Animal Protection would like to emphasise the fact that elephants belong in the wild, not in captivity for rides. Wildlife belongs in the wild.
For more information, please visit: www.worldanimalprotection.org.in.