Heat, humidity makes life miserable for elephants in Kerala

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Kochi (Kerala), May 12 (ANI): Elephants in Kerala's Kochi city are finding it difficult to cope with the soaring temperatures and heightened humidity, as many owners do not follow animal protection laws frequently and give them optimum care.

As per the laws formulated by the state government, it is mandatory for elephants to have at least 12 hours of rest after parading for five hours, and five hours of rest after traveling.

But poor adherence to these rules has maltreatment of elephants and even incidents where they ran amok, causing damage to property and injuries to people.

"In Kerala, we witness parading of elephants under direct sunlight without any shade from hottest atmosphere. For the past three months, Kerala witnessed incidents of elephant running amok between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., even though the High Court of Kerala and the Animal Welfare Board of India, Chennai, had given various guidelines for parading elephants," said Venkatachallam, Secretary of the Elephant Lovers Association.

February to May is the hottest period in Kerala. It is also the time, when many of the temple and church festivals are held. For most temples, churches and mosques in the state, it is also a matter of pride to showcase elephants at their major events.

Elephant owners make use of the festival season by transporting elephants from one site to another, usually without a break. Often the elephants are made to walk on tarred roads for hours, getting neither rest nor respite.

Veterinarian P. K. Giridas said that elephants are also made to stand under the scorching sun for hours during festival celebrations, in violation of animal protection rules.

"We have so many rules regarding if mahouts is making any pain to any animal then we will prosecute him, or public is irritating the animal then, you know, we will prosecute the persons, and these are the rules we regularly doing here," said Giridas.

Giridas added that proper elephant care during times of extreme heat include regular cold baths a few times a day, shaded sheds, and foods that can cool down the pachyderm, asserting that few owners follow these guidelines and authorities do not enforce them, either. By Johan Samuel (ANI)

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