US Animal Behaviour Expert Arrives To Guide Park In Going Chain-Free For Sunder, Other Elephants

For Immediate Release:

8 July 2014


Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

PETA Works With Adviser to Reach Welfare Goals

Bangalore – Margaret Whittaker, an internationally renowned animal behaviourist who specialises in elephants, just arrived at Bannerghatta Biological Park this week and, together with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Animal Rahat veterinarians, will train park mahouts in managing Sunder and other elephants without chains. She is known for her work in using positive reinforcement techniques, not punishment. Sunder is a formerly abused “temple elephant” who was beaten and kept tightly chained alone in a dark shed before being rescued following a PETA campaign and an Indian Supreme Court decision to send him to a sanctuary.

Whittaker began her career with animals at the Houston Zoo, where she developed positive reinforcement training techniques. For the past 16 years, she has been a behavioural consultant for Active Environments, working with zoos and sanctuaries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

PETA is working with Bannerghatta Biological Park to fence in a 49.5-hectare forested area as well as an enclosure where male elephants can be kept chain-free during musth (a period of sexual urge) instead of using the traditional method of keeping male elephants in musth in chains.

“We are grateful to Bannerghatta Biological Park for giving Sunder a better life and for committing to switching to a chain-free system of handling elephants”, says Dr Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs for PETA India. “PETA is honoured to be able to help the park enrich the lives of the elephants it takes care of.”

For more information about Sunder, please visit