Kolhapur district collector Appasaheb Dhulaj on Sunday visited Jyotiba Temple and inspected the 13-year-old elephant,Sundar,which has been kept in captivity by the temple trust for over seven months.
Dhulaj,who was accompanied by the tehsildar,Prashant Misal,met the Jyotiba Temple trustees and instructed them to make sure that the elephant is looked after well and taken out for a stroll everyday.
Local MLA Vinay Kore,who had donated the elephant to the trust,had approached me and had requested to look into the matter last month. We had met the trustees and directed them to release the animal and feed him properly. The captivity and neglect of nourishment had led to the animal becoming weak, Dhulaj said.
On Sunday,I visited the temple and inspected the animal. Its health has improved. For the last fifteen days,the mahout is taking the animal for a stroll in the presence of armed security. He is being fed properly and a doctor is monitoring his health, he added.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) activists had taken up the issue with the local administration as well and the state government after a report in The Indian Express brought to light the elephants ordeal. The issue also got a shot in the arm when Paul McCartney shot a letter to Maharashtras Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam asking him to intervene in the matter.