The Uttarakhand forest department will rehabilitate captive elephants being mistreated by owners in resorts around Corbett National Park.
The department will also replace the local veterinary officer guilty of providing false fitness certificates to ailing and injured animals.
The department has decided to take this action following an inspection undertaken on directions of the National Tiger Conservation Authority which revealed blatant violation of Project Elephant guidelines and exploitation of privately owned elephants near Corbett Park.
The inspection of six such elephants undertaken by Gauri Maulekhi, co-opted member of the Animal Welfare Board of India and member secretary of People For Animals Uttarakhand revealed that injured and
diseased elephants were being forced to work while false records of health were being issued by local vet Dr Rajiv Singh. Also, many elephants were missing over the
past three years with no records available with the forest department.
PFA chairperson Maneka Gandhi then spoke to the director general, forests, PJ Dilip Kumar, and the Uttarakhand PCCF (Wildlife) and chief wildlife warden, SS Sharma, seeking action against the guilty.
Speaking to The Pioneer, Sharma said that the department is planning to rehabilitate the captive elephants soon. “We will also replace the veterinarian, Dr Singh,” he said.
Responding to the letter submitted by Maulekhi, Forest and Rural Development Commissioner Vinita Kumar directed the Secretary, Animal Husbandry, to take stringent action against Dr Singh.
According to forest department officials, the captive elephants will be kept in Jhirna range of Corbett National Park. The procedure for rehabilitation of the pachyderms has been started with the animals expected to be seized in the near future.