GO TO SOURCE
SANU GEORGE, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, March 11, 2001: The decision by Union Minister for Social Justice and Environment, Maneka Gandhi, directing the state government to take over ownership of all domestic elephants, has elephant lovers in Kerala up in arms. K. C. Panicker, an elephant specialist and secretary of the Thrissur based Elephants Welfare Association, said the decision is totally impractical. "The Kerala government, which owned around 100 elephants not long ago, has just under 20 elephants today. Isn't this enough indication that it is just not possible for the government to maintain these elephants?" asked Panicker. In the past, mahouts were well trained and had a deep commitment towards these animals, today most of the mahouts on duty are amateurs. The Institute of Social Welfare in Ernakulam has filed a public interest litigation seeking to end cruelty to pachyderms. They have urged the state government to take steps to enact a law or amend existing rules for mahouts. The present Elephant Protection Act was enacted in 1879.