Kochi: The Kerala Forest Department has decided to lodge a case against a veterinarian who allegedly issued a “fake” fitness certificate for parading a grievously injured elephant at a temple festival here last week. The District Captive Elephant Co-ordination Committee meet convened by Ernakulam District Collector K Muhammed Y Safirulla found Kochi-based veterinary surgeon Dr Abraham Tarakan guilty of issuing a bogus fitness certificate without seeing or directing inspection of the elephant which was paraded at the festival in Kakkanad Pattupurackal temple.
The committee entrusted Anaz N A, Assistant Conservator, Social Forestry, Ernakulam, to take suitable action against the vet. The direction was based on a report filed by the Assistant veterinary officer with the Forest department, which suggested a misrepresentation of facts in the fitness certificate. “A case will be lodged against the vet, who issued the fitness certificate to elephant ‘Kuttisankaran’, by invoking provisions of the Wildlife Act and other relevant rules. The injuries on the hind leg of the elephant got infected but it was paraded despite its poor health condition,” Anaz said.
The tusker, owned by a Thrissur native, had a deep wound on one of its hind limbs when it was brought here last week. Following an alert by volunteers of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a forest team examined the animal and issued a warning against parading the sick elephant. The official warning, however, was defied when the animal was paraded during the festival later on the same day.
The department has also approached the Kerala State veterinary council against the veterinary doctor, who allegedly issued a fitness certificate to ‘Kuttisankaran’ without personally examining the animal. Meanwhile, the district collector said only the forest veterinary officer in Kodanad was mandated to issue fitness certificates for pachyderms during the ongoing festival season. From next season, a panel comprising five government veterinary officers will be constituted for the purpose, he said. The meet also imposed a ban on shifting of pachyderms from one location to another between 6 am and 6 pm.