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 2

The Elephants
The following are just a few of the 57 Elephants at the Guruvayur Temple in Kerala, southern India that need our help:


Nandan     is age 43, a male “tusker” who for 20 years has been shackled in a way as to restrict his ability to lie down or even reach water in a nearby rainwater tank to give himself a refreshing drink. Even stretching and contorting his chained hind leg up behind him allows him no relief, for he is bound to a tree stump by both hind feet. A tree in front of Nandan serves as the host for the chain binding both of his front feet. He has never known freedom from that spot, not even for a minute, for the entire 20 years.


Nandan chained at the Guruvayur Temple

Vinayaka lays, almost as if in a trance, on his side while being washed by his mahout. An ankush propped up flush against his face and mouth serves as a threat that if he moves, at all, he knows the stick will tumble and prompt a terrible beating, yet again.


Journalist Liz Jones kneels next to Vinayaka



another chained elephant, a temple resident for 35 years, has suffered terribly, hobbling on a mangled leg, for the past 15 years. His leg was “deliberately” broken at the hand of a mahout, in order to “subdue” him. He has been bound to the same small area as well, for 20 years.


Devi a female, has been chained near the entrance to the temple, immobile, for 35 years. She is not even allowed to be taken on a walk, not even for one hour a day. None of the elephants are.

Lakshmi Narayan

age 15, who was gifted to the temple by an Indian film star, has spent an anguishing 30 minutes in front of an “audience of families” trying to obey his mahout’s orders to lie down. But he can’t. His chains won’t allow it. Later, his mahout says, “he will be taught.” He will face “a beating with iron bars.”

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 3

See also: “Tortured For Tourists…” by Liz Jones



Photos: Dev Gogoi/Demotix


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s