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Retire Amer Fort Elephants and End Rides, Pleads World Animal Protection on Occasion of World Wildlife Day

New Delhi, Delhi, India

On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, World Animal Protection, an animal protection organization, is pleading the government of Rajasthan and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to end elephant rides in Amer Fort in Jaipur and retire the elephants to a wildlife friendly sanctuary. Recently, a Russian tourist was attacked by an elephant in Amer Fort in Jaipur. Keeping in mind human safety, as illustrated by this sad incident, it is urgently recommended to initiate the retirement of old and sick elephants and promote the existent alternative ways of getting to Amer Fort like jeeps and electric and battery powered vehicles.

Elephants live in herds in the forest and do not belong in Amer Fort in Jaipur. Many of them are stressed, representing a threat to human safety in the premises. The riding elephants of Jaipur deserve better than to provide entertainment to tourists. We are calling upon the government of Rajasthan and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to end this cruel spectacle of elephant rides and retire the elephants to a wildlife friendly sanctuary. World Animal Protection is willing to facilitate this process in whatever capacity we can,” said Mr. Gajender Kumar Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection in India.

There are approximately 82 elephants in Amer Fort in Jaipur right now, giving rides. Surveys conducted by Animal Welfare Board Of India in 2018 and Project Elephant, Ministry of Environment and Forests, in 2020, state that the current situation with regard to the Amer Fort elephants is untenable. The Project Elephant, Ministry of Environment and Forests, report of 2020, recommends phasing out elephant rides in Amer Fort in Jaipur.

Many elephants in Amer Fort have been observed to display stereotypical behaviour such as repetitive swaying and head-bobbing ranging from moderate to intense, indicative of extreme mental distress and deterioration. Several elephants in Amer Fort are blind, lame and otherwise ill and unfit to give rides.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Project Elephant report on Amer Fort elephants of 2020, states that “In a phased manner the elephant rides in Amer Fort may be withdrawn and switched over to other modes of transportation like electric or battery operated vehicles. The declining trend of tourists on elephant rides and ageing animals are indicators for changes. The owners of the elephants also may be rehabilitated suitably in such situations. New addition of elephants for rides should be completely banned.”

World Animal Protection is in consonance with this recommendation.

World Animal Protection calls for the immediate retirement of sick, illegally owned and aggressive elephants from riding purposes in Amer Fort in Jaipur and their rehabilitation to wildlife friendly sanctuaries.

World Animal Protection has publicly highlighted the dangers of continuing to use tuberculosis afflicted elephants in Amer Fort. Rajasthan is not a natural elephant range state. Using elephants for entertainment purposes in this region is fundamentally flawed. World Animal Protection is working with tourism corporates, raising public awareness and engaging stakeholders to retire the elephants of Amer Fort to wildlife friendly venues. The latest corporate to join the wildlife friendly policy of World Animal Protection and stop offering elephant rides is Medini Homestay of Assam. World Animal Protection in India discourages breeding elephants in captivity for entertainment purposes and urges Indian tourists to avoid destinations abroad in countries like Thailand where elephants are used for circus tricks in human entertainment. It is imperative that no new elephants are brought to Amer Fort and World Animal Protection has been consistently advocating for this. World Animal Protection hopes recent developments expedite the process of ending elephant rides in Amer Fort in Jaipur to bring more respect for India’s National Heritage Animal.

 

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