Following Latest Elephant Attack at Amer Fort, PETA India Renews Call for the Animals to Be Replaced With Motorised Vehicles

Posted on by Erika Goyal

After attacks by a frustrated elephant named Gouri at Amer Fort left a shopkeeper with fractured ribs and other severe injuries and a Russian tourist with a broken leg, PETA India secured video footage of one elephant attacking another at the tourist site. CCTV footage dated 5 March shows an elephant who was returning from giving rides dangerously push another elephant carrying tourists against a wall several times. In 2019, a similar brawl occurred between two elephants (numbers 44 and 74) while both animals were carrying tourists.

PETA India issued a letter to Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister for Tourism, Art and Culture and Archaeology and Museums Diya Kumari calling for the rehabilitation of this elephant and Gouri as well as for all elephant rides to be replaced immediately with eco-friendly motorised vehicles, as was recommended in a report of the committee constituted by the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, per an order of the Supreme Court of India.

Rides on the elephant who attacked have apparently been suspended temporarily, according to a letter dated 6 March by the Office of the Superintendent, Amber Palace. However, PETA India points out that the stated names of the elephants – Kamla and Lakshmi – do not match the microchip and ride numbers of the elephants involved in the incident and Kamla reportedly died some time ago. This indicates that Amer Fort’s administration has no records or methods to suitably verify the elephants’ names or microchip and ride numbers. Without correct and reliable information, illegally caught elephants may be in use at Amer Fort.

In fact, data procured via the Right to Information Act show that in 2023, 38 out of 79 elephants used for rides at Amer Fort – some 50% – did not have valid ownership certificates. A case has been registered against elephant keepers by the Rajasthan Forest Department for allegedly poaching the elephants.

PETA India notes that close to 100 elephants, the majority of whom are used for rides, weddings, and movies, are being held captive in Rajasthan – often without valid ownership certificates or permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India – making the state a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking. When elephants attack humans, beatings and other punishments typically follow, which only make the animals more frustrated and upset. In addition, elephants are common carriers of tuberculosis, which can infect humans. PETA India has previously highlighted that elephants who have tested reactive for tuberculosis have still been used for rides.

The use of elephant rides in Rajasthan often violates a number of laws, including the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972; The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001; and a 2010 circular from the Rajasthan government mandating the registration of elephants used in performances.

End Cruel Elephant Rides at Amer Fort