Seven-member team of experts to probe ill-treatment of temple jumbos in TN


Chennai, Dec 30 : The Tamil Nadu forest department has constituted a seven-member team of experts to investigate whether temple elephants in the state are being subjected to harassment and whether these elephants are in a position to be held in captivity. The team constituted by the Tamil Nadu forest department Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Neeraj is to be headed by Dr N.V.K. Asharaf, noted veterinarian with the Wild Life Trust of India, anti-wildlife crime expert from Traffic India, and representatives of NGOs. The team according to the order issued on Wednesday is mandated to inspect the maintenance and welfare of captive elephants as per the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephant (Management and Maintenance) rules 2011. The order issued by the Chief Wildlife warden also cites that the team has to submit the report before January 15, 2022, after studying and evaluating the upkeep and maintenance of the elephants as also the health condition. The elephants in focus are Devayani, a female elephant attached with the Thiruparakundram Subramania Swamy temple, Abayambikai at Mayuranathar temple in Thanjavur, Subbulakshmi at Shanmuganathan temple at Sivagangai, and Varalakshmi at Thayamanaswamy temple at Tiruchi. The forest department had received several complaints against the poor maintenance and upkeep of these elephants and also some other elephants in private captivity. The order to investigate the upkeep of these elephants is a follow-up on these complaints as prima facie the complaints were found to be true on a routine inspection by the Tamil Nadu state Forest department. According to the order issued by the Chief Wild Life Warden, if it is found that the elephants are poorly maintained creating health issues for them, they would be shifted to the MR Palayam Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Tiruchi, the order added. /IANS


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