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 150 individuals of Rajasthan Road Riders participated in a rally from Amar Jawan Jyoti to Jhalana Reserve to highlight the plight of captive elephants used for rides in Amer Fort in Jaipur. The cyclists later will cycle from Jaipur to Bisalpur to raise awareness on the plight of elephants.
Rajasthan Road Riders cyclists on the occasion of World Elephant Day in Jaipur on 12 August 2023
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection in India said, “World Animal Protection and Rajasthan Road Riders are bringing home the message to end the spectacle of cruel elephant rides in Jaipur. The 80 elephants in Amer fort deserve better than to give daily rides in a place that is not their home range state. If an elephant sanctuary can be built in Bisalpur, the elephants used for Amer Fort can be shifted to a more wildlife friendly location that can benefit both mahouts and elephants.”
Elephants used for rides are often illegally traded and this activity is a threat to the existence of wild elephants. At a time when wild elephants are facing threats of poaching and habitat destruction, the continued capture of wild elephants to fuel the inhumane activity of elephant rides to cater to human entertainment is unjustifiable, according to World Animal Protection.
The World Animal Protection stance is reflective of the government’s own suggestions made for captive elephants in Jaipur that recommends replacing elephant rides with motorized electric vehicles.
Over the years, we have witnessed societies change to embrace more humane alternatives to replace cruel traditions. If this can be done for human traditions, it can be replicated for animal traditions as well. In today’s age, there is no need to use a sentient animal like an elephant for human entertainment because there are so many alternatives available and this show is well past its sell by date. There are examples of wildlife friendly sanctuaries in India and abroad that can serve as examples for the retirement of the Amer fort elephants to a dignified life after suffering a lifetime of cruelty.
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.
World Animal Protection has published several reports on captive elephant welfare, including the ‘Taken For A Ride’:
On the occasion of World Elephant Day in 2023, on behalf of all participants in the event, cyclists 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.
World Animal Protection website: www.worldanimalprotection.org.in.