Elephants With Jobs or Elephant Tourism: The Great Debate

“We Have to Release Them. We Have to Release Them. We Have to Release Them.” Liz Jones and the Elephants Part 1


Guruvayur visitors unaware of cruelty to the elephants

The Temple

Journalist Liz Jones reporting for the Daily Mail on Sunday along with London barrister, Duncan McNair, who founded Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) have made a desperate appeal to rescue elephants.

“We have to release the 57 elephants in that temple, and close down the secretive ‘training’ camps: there are 12 in all”.

The temple is Guruvayur Temple in the state of Kerala in southern India. The “training camps” are isolated and the elephants’ first stop, before they are locked down at the temple. Jones and McNair visited one at Karnataka.

Why do our elephants have to endure this torture? It all starts with tourism. The demand for holidays “promising any interaction with elephants” have increased exponentially since the 1960’s. At the same time, the population of Indian elephants in the wild has dwindled.

Let us not forget the festivals, almost 150 events in an 8 month season. They account for much of the demand, where elephants earn as much as $7800. 00 per hour. Any money made by these festivals, the travel industry and even “respected reserves,” such as Corbett Tiger Reserve and Kanha National Park, both in India, on the backs of elephants is downright shameful.

There is a “process” called “pajan” (phajaan or elephant crushing). It is used to break an elephant down into submission in order to be paraded around for festivals or ridden by humans in tourist resorts the world over.

Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan, a doctoral student in elephant behavior, explains that every elephant, every one of “these very sensitive creatures,” face this cruelty.

To be continued, see:  “We Have to Release Them. We Have to Release Them. We Have to Release Them.” Liz Jones and the Elephants  Part 2

See also:  http://wildlifesos.org/

Photos: Dev Gogoi/Demotix


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