Dozen elephants in illegal captivity: PFA

Despite a bar on sale and purchase of elephants in the country, the Haryana government continues to have elephants on its list of animals, which can be put on sale at cattle fairs. Not only this, the Haryana chapter of People For Animals (PFA) claimed that nearly a dozen elephants were kept in illegal captivity in Haryana and were being abused on different occasions.

The International Organisation for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) has now decided to rejuvenate its efforts to get elephants out of the list of where the jumbo is placed among buffalo, donkeys and mules. PFA has also extended support.

In a fresh petition to the state government, Sukanya of OIPA said though the Central Zoo Authority had banned elephants in zoos, it had failed to make concrete efforts to rescue and rehabilitate the national heritage animal of the country. "We have been demanding the state government to remove elephants from the list of saleable animals, but to no avail. We will soon hold a meeting to decide our further course of action to get the animals rescued from illegal captivity in various parts of the state," said Naresh Kadyan from PFA. He also said that though the State Animal Husbandry Department admitted to have only four elephants in the state, but PFA's data and survey showed a dozen out of which four were kept in illegal captivity at Panipat, four in Rewari and two each in Kurukshetra and Karnal.

Kadyan also demanded a ban on the use of 'ankush' and licenses for elephant handler, keeper and riders be made mandatory like vehicle driving license and it should be renewed on a yearly basis on the fulfillment of basic requirements.

Dharambir, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Wildlife, when contacted by The Indian Express expressed his surprise over the fact that elephants figured on the list of animals, which could be traded in the state. "This is serious. I will take up the issue with the Chief Minister to get elephants removed from the list of animals, which can be sold at cattle fairs. Elephants fall under the protected species category, and we will ensure their rescue if those are illegally kept in the state," Dharambir said.

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