See link for photo.
The veterinary expert has recommended release of ‘Sonu’ in natural habitat. The wild elephant is presently in the custody and care of Forest Department as keeping wild animals in captivity is inherently cruel. Report by Dr. Rakesh Chittora, Senior Veterinary Trainer, after assessment of the mental and physical health recommended this.
The veterinary trainer observed that Sonu, although, has developed a liking for concentrate food, and also closeness with the three other elephants at the Camp with partial obedience to commands of Mahouts, it certainly doesn’t mean that he has lost its fortitude and natural survival instinct.
It’s to be noted here that as per Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Guidelines for care and management of captive elephants no owner shall permit use of nylon ropes or chain/hobbles with spikes or sharp edges for tying elephants.
Dr Chittora recommended International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines as reference for translocation procedure. Expertise of Wildlife Trust of India, which has successfully undertaken many such translocation projects of rehabilitating captive elephants in wild in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, could also be sought. Relocation also holds legal backing by Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which mandates rehabilitation of captured wild animals in wild as soon as possible to minimise mental and physical trauma.