Thiruvananthapuram: The fight of Maneka Gandhi’s NGO, People for Animals (PFA), for the safety of two temple elephants seems to have finally borne fruit.
The chief wildlife warden, G Harikumar, has written a letter to the PFA stating that it would shift Parassala Sivasankaran to the Department’s elephant rehabilitation Centre in Kottur. However, the chief wildlife warden was non-committal about Neyyatinkara Kannan.
The change in the approach of the Forest Department is said to have been prompted by the stern intervention of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). When the Department took the stand that it did not have the expertise to care for the two elephants, the AWBI promptly offered the services of a highly skilled team to move the two elephants to the nearest sanctuary.
It was a public interest litigation filed by People for Animals (PFA) that led to the High Court order on April 10 asking the Forest Department to provide immediate medical assistance to the suffering elephants.
The order, however, did not spur the Department into action. It said that further steps would be taken after holding discussions with Devaswom officials, as both the elephants were under the custody of Travancore Devaswom Board temples.
Though Forest Department officials said adequate medical attention was given, the condition of the elephants had worsened. Sivasankaran belongs to the Parassala Sreemahadevar temple and Kannan to Neyyatinkara Sreekrishna Temple.
A three-member AWBI team had inspected the elephants and found that both displayed stereotypic behaviour such as repeated head wobbling and swaying, tics that indicated mental distress as well as boredom.
Kannan, though an adult bull, has never shown signs of ‘musth’ ever since he was brought to the temple. The AWBI report termed this “unnatural”. Parassala Sivasankaran’s hind legs had festering wounds where the rusted chains had cut deep into the flesh....