It turns out that the happy reunion of the elephant Marriapan with his mom was just the beginning of the good news. After years of campaigning by PETA India against keeping elephants in captivity, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) banned the use of elephants in zoos in 2009. The CZA has since relocated 18 elephants from zoos throughout India to spacious forest sanctuaries, where they will be able to roam, receive professional veterinary care and enjoy the company of other elephants.
Some zoos, however, are attempting to dodge this directive by asking to be exempt from having to relocate elephants, including the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, where an elephant frustrated by captivity killed a man last year.
Says Rahul, “At this time of Ganesh Chaturthi, as the whole nation gears up to celebrate an elephant god, I urge the CZA to now take steps to ensure all remaining elephants are moved to forest areas immediately, including those jailed at Byculla Zoo”.
Brand-new bride Celina Jaitly says, “In Mumbai and other parts of India, elephants in captivity are kept in cruel conditions. It breaks my heart to see them separated from their families as babies and sentenced to a lifetime of boredom, loneliness and abuse. I applaud the CZA’s decision that a zoo environment is wholly inadequate for elephants”.
It is now your turn to urge the CZA to keep their commitment to send every elephant still held captive in Indian zoos to forest areas. Write to the CZA’s Member Secretary, Mr BS Bonal, at [email protected].