Wildlife SOS, an NGO involved with rescue and rehabilitation of animals in distress, have launched a petition to raise awareness about illegal elephant trafficking in India. The NGO is pushing for the rescue of Suman, a six-year-old elephant who has been isolated from his family and is allegedly being held illegally in Jaipur.
“The Rajasthan Forest Department has been informed of the above situation by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, yet no action has been taken to seize ‘Suman’ or arrest the persons keeping her in illegal custody,” the NGO said in its release. Elephants are protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and are the Heritage Animals of India. The illegal sale and trafficking of Elephants is a cognizable offence and punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment.
Adding that the elephant was purchased illegally from a circus in Maharashtra by Sameer ‘Ballu’ Khan, the NGO claims that Suman is being trained using brutal techniques and is living a life of constant fear, trauma and pain.
“As a baby elephant, Suman is faced with an uncertain future – either 50 years of abuse, beatings, neglect and fear or 50 years of safety, kindness, veterinary care and love from people and other elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant rescue centre. Her fate lies in our hands,” Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS said.
“Keeping six-year-old Suman locked up and not allowing her to be in bodily contact with her mother and family members is a crime. The only motto of the owner appears to be earning money from tourism in Jaipur and proper upkeep is lacking in handling the elephants. The cruelty is noticed in Suman’s upkeep,” BK Singh, retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Head of the Forest Force) Karnataka said. He also appealed to the Forest Department to take action against the trafficking and shift Suman to the Elephant rescue Center in Mathura.
Elaborating on the campaign, Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS said, “Several elephants are living this life in India but they remain hidden and suffer from an illegal existence. We are reaching out to our supporters and elephant lovers across the world to stand strong for Suman and ensure her future is safe with us and that she is reunited with her sister, Peanut.”