Saturday, March 20, 2010

In hot Kerala, captive elephants lose cool

Captive elephants in Kerala are feeling the heat of temple festivals. Often working overtime, without sufficient food and water in this hot season, they are going berserk on a daily basis.

In the past two weeks, several elephants have gone berserk. Elephants are overly stressed, especially in the months from March to May when temple festivals are at their peak, elephant expert Jacob Cheeran told IANS.

The black skin of the elephant and its huge body are factors that increase thermal stress.

Kerala has around 800 captive elephants. Even though there are rules that no elephant should be allowed to perform any sort of activity from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m, the guidelines are not followed as the animal is most sought after during this season for temple festivals and is a major source of income for elephant owners.

State Forest Minister Binoy Viswam agreed that there are problems.

The real villains are the elephant brokers, who take these elephants on rent from the owners and even though they say they will take care of them, it unfortunately does not happen because they are transported from one temple to another, he said.

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