New Investigation: Elephant Joymala (Jeymalyatha) Still in Chains and Controlled With Weapons

Posted on by Erika Goyal

Through video evidence gathered in late October and again just two days ago, PETA India shows elephant Joymala (also known as Jeymalyatha) is back to being shackled in chains on a hard concrete floor near constantly, in complete isolation from others of her kind, and controlled with the threat of weapons. She is in the custody of the Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple in Tamil Nadu. PETA India’s findings refute the claims made by the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department that Joymala is “absolutely doing good”. Joymala was apparently never returned to the custodian in Assam by the Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple after her permit to stay in the state expired.

PETA India’s exposé shows Joymala with deep wound marks on her legs indicative of long-term chaining and mahouts carrying ankuses and sticks while taking her on a short walk around the temple.

After a veterinary inspection visit was made to Joymala on 27 July 2022, PETA India submitted a report to Tamil Nadu officials explaining that her feet are painfully infected, that she is controlled with pliers, and that weapons were found in her shed. Elephants who are kept chained in place and forced to live on hard packed dirt or concrete often have thin, uneven, and bruised foot pads and cracked nails, leading to infection and osteomyelitis. PETA India notes that no visitors are allowed to enter the area where Joymala is now kept, seemingly to keep her loneliness and abuse hidden.

In two separate video recordings released by the media involving different mahouts in 2021 and 2022, Joymala can be seen being beaten so badly she is screaming in pain. Ironically, these beatings took place at a rejuvenation camp for elephants and in the holiest of places, the sanctum sanctorum of the Krishnan Kovil temple.

The Assam Environment & Forest Department is seeking directions for the transfer of Joymala back to Assam from Tamil Nadu through the Gauhati High Court. PETA India recommends Joymala be sent to a specialised rehabilitation centre skilled in handling abused elephants, as approved by the central government’s Project Elephant division, where she can live unchained and in the company of other elephants.

Abused elephants are dangerous as many retaliate. According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants killed 526 people in Kerala alone in a 15-year span. There have also been numerous incidents in Tamil Nadu and throughout India in which frustrated captive elephants killed their mahouts. Examples include Deivanai, who was also from Assam and who killed her mahout at the Subramaniya Swami temple in Madurai; Masini, who is kept at the Samayapuram Mariamman temple in Trichy; and Madhumathi, who was used in a temple festival in Madurai.

Joymala must be rehabilitated immediately, and you can help us:

Help Us Rescue Bullied Elephant Jeymalyatha (Joymala)