After learning from PETA India that an elephant named Malti – also referred to as “No 44” – was subjected to abuse by her handlers in view of the public for the second time in less than two years while she was being used for apparently illegal tourist rides at Amer Fort near Jaipur, Rajasthan, Minister of State Forest & Environment Shri Sukhram Vishnoi directed the state’s chief wildlife warden to take strict and immediate action in order to ensure that Malti is rescued and rehabilitated.
PETA India’s investigation in October 2020 found Malti shackled in a garage. She was forced to stand on a concrete floor round the clock, with minimal natural light, both of her front legs are tied to each other with a short metal chain, and her hind leg is tied with a tight coir rope. Her custodians are still offering her to participate in weddings and social events, even though she was barred from giving rides by the orders of the Rajasthan Forest Department to ensure public safety.
Video footage taken in late March 2019 shows that because Malti was fighting with another elephant – a sign of serious psychological distress – handlers tried to use sticks to control both animals and shouted at them. Luckily, the tourists riding them at the time were unharmed.
In a letter to the Rajasthan Forest Department, PETA India points out that a group of American tourists witnessed eight men violently beating Malti with sticks for nearly 10 minutes at Amer Fort in June 2017. The letter further states that she’s still being forced to give rides, despite her evident distress, putting human lives at risk. In view of the evidence that she’s being subjected to violence, we urged the Forest Department to seize her immediately and send her to a reputable sanctuary for rehabilitation.
The report on the 2018 inspection by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) of captive elephants in Jaipur states, “Out of 100 cow elephants, elephant no 44 (ride no), by the name Malti was found to be extremely nervous and anxious and has the history of running amok in June 2017.”
It further states that her ownership certificate is invalid and that her welfare is compromised, since her toenails are overgrown, cracked, deformed, and discoloured; the cuticles around her nails and in the interdigital space are overgrown, dry, and cracked; her foot pads are thin, uneven, and bruised; and her blood profile indicates eosinophilia (an increase in the number of eosinophils in the blood, which occurs in response to some allergens, drugs, and parasites) and neutropenia (the presence of abnormally few neutrophils in the blood, leading to increased susceptibility to infection). The report also notes that she and her custodian don’t fulfil the criteria for registration with the AWBI to give rides at Amer Fort or Hathigaon.
Married couple Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma have also condemned Malti’s plight and called for her to be rescued.
You Can Help Malti
Please send polite letters to the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan at [email protected] calling on him to follow Minister Vishnoi’s instructions to rescue and rehabilitate Malti in spirit and letter.