The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) on Thursday pulled up Chhattisgarh Forest Department for alleged shabby treatment meted out to a wild elephant under captivity in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Bilaspur district.
Notably, a wild young tusker was captured a few months back in ATR and was reportedly subjected to harsh condition by the Forest Department staff resulting in serious wounds caused to its legs and other body parts. Later on, hearing a PIL filed by Nitin Singhvi over the issue the Bilaspur High Court had directed the AWBI to look into the matter.
In the inspection report handed over to the State government on Thursday, AWBI recommended conducting of an enquiry and initiating disciplinary action against those who could be involved in similar incidents of capturing wild elephants and retaining them in illegal captivity in the past.
According to AWBI, such actions are the violation of Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972.
The Board had also mentioned a slew of measures to be adopted for providing immediate relief to the wild elephant.
AWBI has recommended for proper treatment of the wounds on the legs of the pachyderm. The experts from the Board also recommended for covering heavy metal chains with rubber or plastic tubes and should be tied away from the wounds. A balanced diet should be formulated and given to the wild animal along with continuous and free access to drinking water.
If possible, the Board said the elephants may be given walk/exercise every one hour using humane handling and restraining methods. The torture equipment such as ‘Ankush’ and ‘Balam’ may be immediately confiscated from the Mahouts.
The Board also recommended that once the wounds are healed and the elephant is physically fit for travel as certificated by an experienced veterinarian, it should be immediately rehabilitated to a pre-identified natural habitat which is home for the wild elephants.