Clamour for stopping illegal elephant park

Alappuzha Range Officer Raveendran said the park was running with the silent approval of the Government

ALAPPUZHA: Even a month after a petition to the District Collector and Assistant Conservator (Social Forestry) for implementing a 2008 directive to seize elephants being paraded in the illegal Elephant Park in Alappuzha, no action has been taken by the Forest Department.

At least a month after a Deccan Chronicle report on the functioning of illegal elephant parks, an elephant in a resort in Iruttukanam near Munnar, kicked to death a 27- year -old tourist, Deepali from Gujarat, on Monday while she was trying to take a few pictures along with the jumbo. All eyes are now on the elephant park in Alappuzha which is still doing business despite a forest official issuing a stop memo.

Venkitachalam Secretary, Heritage Animal Task Force, who sent a petition demanding the seizure of such elephants, said all elephant parks in the State were running illegally. The animal Welfare Board of India has issued no registration certificate to any elephant in India so far. So, all parks are being run illegally. “Forest officials are not for seizing such elephants because no funds are allotted to the DFO to feed seized elephants”, he says.

Assistant Conservator (social forestry) of the district had issued a stop memo on September 12 to the illegal elephant park near a Punnamada resort. G. Krishnaprasad, owner of the Elephant Park and also a CPI leader said he was still running the park despite the stop memo. “Yes, the forest official did come here. But he saw that all four elephants were being treated well. All elephants were brought in here as per the rules and regulations issued by the State Government. What’s the problem here?”, he asks.

Alappuzha Range Officer Raveendran said the park was running with the silent approval of the Government. “We were told that the owner was trying to get special licence from the State Government. We issued a stop memo. But if they are unfazed by it, we have no power to seize the elephants. The action should be taken by the DFO”, he said.
Ranni DFO Janardhanan said he would take appropriate action after studying the issue.

( Source : dc )
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