INDIA'S TEMPLE ELPHANT'S DESPERATEY IN NEED OF HELP
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India’s elephants play a vital role for Temple’s and brings in major draw for tourists and devotee’s . Owning temple elephants symbolizing Culture Tradition , History, and Prestige these elephants are forced to partake in rituals and worship in religion ( Buddhism , Hinduism).
These elephants are wild animals that are taken from their family and forests and sold or gifted into captivity.
At the entrance of a temple or inside you will be greeted by a Temple Elephant. They‘re roles are to work earning revenue for the temple and their mahouts. After giving a monetary donation: The task of a temple elephant is to touch devotees with their trunk as a blessing however there are other tasks that they endure.
Example’s Below of Temple Elephant Tasks
They are overburdened with much more work , when festival season arrives they are forced to be paraded surrounded by thousands of spectators, extremely loud noises, adding to their deprivation of sleep and rest , they are made to stand for hours in one place no matter what the weather elements are, they’re malnourished, dehydrated, and frequently mistreated.
What‘s more concerning is that presently these elephants are being rented out for other venue’s to earn more revenue (weddings, giving rides, and other religions have joined in and are renting them for their own celebrations)
Who are responsible for them? The elephant’s care and welfare are in the hands of a mahout whose education skills are completely inadequate majority of them don’t hold a degree or certification to handle wildlife.
On average a mahout salary is $200 US dollars a month (the only incentive is to earn tips) in order to do this his job is to control the elephant to remain submissive; elephant’s under their care go through a lifetime of physical torture and mental stress.
The list of brutality (below) is just a fraction of what they endure.
Training Process “Breaking-Of-The-Will"
· Elephants and Baby elephants are chained , beaten into submission
· Their hind feet tied to a stump and front legs chained to a tree
· Tethered so tight with chains it cuts into their skin
· Elephants are deliberately blinded (taking away their sight) so that they depend on the mahout
· Confining them so they can’t move
· Elephants are being beaten continuously threatened by ankus
Elephant have attacked back, there are many reports involving human/animal conflict which have resulted in death to a mahout or spectator.
The Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA) is responsible to oversee zoos. They’ve made major developments for Asian elephants in India with two life changing announcements for elephant’s in zoos and in circuses.
That elephants require a lot of space to exercise and move about in and they are being deprived that space in zoos and circuses and they made it possible to retire these elephants.
We ask that the Government make the same consideration and take action for Temple Elephants and have them retired to a sanctuary.
1. Elephants to be banished from all zoos (announced in 2009) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Elephants-to-be-banished-from-all-zoos/articleshow/5221159.cms
2. Elephants to be banned in circuses due to cruel conditions (announced in 2017) http://indianexpress.com/article/india/central-zoo-authority-for-ban-on-elephants-in-circuses-4544237/
Major Concerns Regarding Temple Elephant’s Welfare
· Temple Elephants are Chained for up to 12 to 22 hours a day unable to move freely
· Temples are religious structures meant for worship. not equipped with the facilities to adequately care for an elephant.
· Temple elephants are kept in confinement and suffer with their legs and have foot problems due to obesity and lack of exercise they are made to stand on hard surfaces.
· Temple elephants are kept in isolation , stressed, their behavioural patterns back and forth weaving movements
· Temple elephants are dying at an astronomical rate due to cruel captive conditions ( being starved, beaten , neglected)
An elephant’s life and health depends on its mahout and since the start of 2018 (11 elephants have died) and in the past 26 months ( 60 elephants have died ) .
Attention IS NEEDED NOW Temple Elephants are living under tremendous stress and are violently abused and exploited. Protecting their rights is an obligation and priority to end this generation and future generations of enslavement and allowing them to live Cruelty FREE.
India’s government needs to implement responsible tourism directed towards ecotourism. Which would generate much more economic benefits for local people and the wellbeing of these elephants while still retaining a spiritual and cultural tradition.