Hyderabad: Amiable as they seem, the tar road, constant standing, crowds of people and the noise of vehicles during processions, religious ceremonies and tourism are stressing out elephants so much that it is affecting their reproduction and even survival.
This was realised when scientists at the CCMB tested 870 dung samples of 37 captive elephants. The samples showed that the fertility of elephants was compromised.
Besides, the stress was leading to higher violence among the stressed animals.
The study published in the journal Animals found that there have been 274 cases of manslaughter of captive elephants between 1989 and 2003 in India.
Dr G. Umapathy, principal scientist, Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (La-Cones) at CCMB, said, “We have found that the animals are rented out daily and do not get proper rest. The food provided to them is not of good quality.”
He said that in the past the elephants that were used in public events were give sufficient rest.
“Now we are seeing that they have been booked for entire year and it has to face the crowds and noise of vehicles. This has led to severe psychological stress for the animal.”
Scientists examined the dung samples of 24 male and 13 female elephants and found that the stress levels in the females affected their reproduction system. Husbandry practices were not properly implemented, due to which the reproduction of female elephants in captivity is very low. The use of female elephants in the reproductive age group of 20 to 55 years in processions, religious ceremonies and tourist safari rides is not recommended due to the high stress levels.
The study recommends that it is very important to train handlers who must be made aware of the need to keep the welfare of elephant in mind.
The study points out that the management of elephants needs to improve to ensure their survival and improve their reproductive system....