Mahouts were caught hitting the animals with ankuses – weapons with a sharp hook on one end – and wooden sticks. Many elephants were denied access to drinking water, some were forced to walk and stand on hot tar roads for hours with no shade, and many were hobbled with short, heavy chains that severely restricted their movement.
The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, prohibits capturing an elephant, yet many captive elephants are thought to have been caught illegally in the wild. As many as 289 are being held in Kerala without valid ownership certificates. Elephants are also protected by numerous recent court orders:
- In an 18 April 2015 order, the Supreme Court stated that if any owner, organiser, or festival or temple coordination committee treated elephants cruelly, the offender would be held liable for contempt.
- The High Court of Kerala, in an order dated 14 April 2016, directed that “[n]o elephant which is found unfit to participate in the ceremonial parade shall be utilised and the district magistrate will ensure that use of any such animal is clearly excluded.”
- In 2010 and 2015, respectively, the Rajasthan High Court and the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala prohibited the use of iron ankuses.
Elephants are exploited in temples, circuses and used extensively for joy-rides.
You Can Help Stop Cruelty to Elephants
Elephants are exploited in temples and circuses and used extensively for joyrides. They’re made to work long hours and beaten into submission using sharp torture devices. Sign our petition to call for a complete ban on the use of elephants for any kind of performance.