Thrissur: A report submitted by the chief conservator of the forest (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden to the Union environment ministry reveals that out of 521 elephants enumerated during the one-day census of captive elephants in Kerala in November, only 32 had valid ownership certificates (OC).
The report accessed under the Right to Information Act from the biodiversity conservator by Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) shows out of the 32 elephants with valid OCs, 13 are with the forest department and 19 have private owners.
All the major Devaswom boards in the state including Cochin, Malabar, Guruvayur and Travancore, do not feature on the six-page list prepared by the forest department have no pachyderms with valid OC.
The NGO sought the information in connection with the ongoing case regarding the torture meted out to captive elephants across the country filed by different pro-animal organisations.
“Elephants known for their height, stature and the high hiring charges (ekkam) like Thechikottukavu Ramachandran in Thrissur, Mangalamkunnu Karnan (Palakkad), Pambadi Rajan, Puthuppally Kesavan Erattupetta Ayyappan (all from Kottayam), along with the most sought-after with Guruvayur Devaswom, Sree Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, and TDB, are not on the list,” HATF campaigner V.K. Venkitachalam said.
Even though the SC had asked about the possibility of issuing ‘provisional certificates’ to those without OC, the report says only 19 elephants with the forest department got it.
“The document had laid bare a major financial and wildlife crime by which captive elephants without any documents whatsoever were handed over to Devaswom boards and purchased by private individuals starting from the late 70s till 2007 when HC banned bringing captive elephants from other states to Kerala,” he alleged....