PETA India held a press conference in Jaipur to share video footage of elephant Malti repetitively swaying and bobbing her head – signs of severe psychological distress in captive elephants – and a veterinary opinion signed by 120 veterinarians. The veterinary opinion document confirms she is suffering psychologically and calls for her rehabilitation at an elephant care centre. Malti is used for tourist rides at Amer Fort despite having a history of running amok and fighting with another elephant, after which she was severely beaten in public. A letter was sent to the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urging him to ensure the rescue and rehabilitation of elephants Malti and Gouri for their welfare and public safety. Gouri recently lashed out and attacked a shopkeeper, leading to the man’s hospitalisation. PETA India is also calling for Malti’s rescue in Amer magistrates’ court.
Malti continues to be used for rides, putting tourists at risk, even though the government body Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) recorded her anxiety and a Rajasthan government health certificate labelled her unhealthy and unsound. She is also in illegal custody, as her ownership certificate expired last year. Similarly, according to a 2018 AWBI report, elephant Gouri is being kept in Rajasthan illegally.
The AWBI has also noted that Malti is suffering from overgrown, cracked toenails and bruised and uneven footpads caused by a life on concrete. Earlier, the office of then Forest and Environment Minister of Rajasthan Shri Sukhram Vishnoi had directed the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan to immediately rescue and rehabilitate Malti – but that still has not happened.