KOZHIKODE: The British tabloid, Daily Mail, has kept up its tradition of sensationalism by publishing an exaggerated report on the cruelty meted out to the elephants at Guruvayur’s Punnathur Kotta on August 15.
To add insult to injury, it is yet to publish a rejoinder sent by Prof Nameer, HoD, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Kerala Agriculture University.
“I was grossly misquoted in the story. Remarks such as ‘elephant Nandan has been chained to one spot and never been released for 20 years’ are nothing but the reporter’s imagination,” says Prof. Nameer, who is also a member of the state wildlife board.
He had visited the elephant facility in Guruvayur with Liz Jones, Daily Mail reporter, and Duncan McNair, CEO of the London-based NGO, ‘Save the Asian Elephants’ (STAE), on July 9.
The report titled, ‘Tortured for tourists: Chained to the same spot for 20 years,’ created an uproar with several readers appealing to stop touring Kerala until jumbos were ensured a fair treatment.
The tabloid published a couple of follow-up stories also. Based on the reports, the ‘STAE’ started an online signature campaign to be submitted to the Prime Ministers of India and Britain to ensure the proper treatment of captive elephants.
Already, over 5,000 have signed the petition. It will also be forwarded to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) urging its members to remove elephant attractions from their itinerary in India.
According to Prof. Nameer, some Karnataka forest personnel too had registered their protest against the report in the feedback column. “Though I tried to jot down my rejoinder in the feedback space, it was closed by then,” Prof. Nameer added....