elephant musth in kerala

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Stop, for a second, and imagine yourself in a similar situation – the bloodied pain, the helplessness, the desperation. Most of the male elephants have musth period during monsoon season (Falls in the Malayalam month Karkkidakom) from June to October. Despite these rules, elephant owners have been parading them in extreme weather conditions and during high-decibel bursting of firecrackers. The long one is about 10 feet in length and is used for stabbing at the joints to impart pain. The training sessions are held in specially crated cages. There is also the strange belief among Kerala elephant keepers that the animals love what humans eat – like a proper meal with boiled rice and vegetable curries. Elephants caught in traps are dangerous, so they are broken before being brought out. The directive starts off with instructions to not create more annual festivals than the ones traditionally being celebrated and to also not increase the number of elephants used in these festivals. However, whether this hormonal surge is the sole cause of musth, or merely a contributing factor, is unknown. Two other elephants were brought to lead the injured animal out of the water, but she refused to move and remained there until she died, Ali added. "We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). India's environment minister Prakash Javadekar said Thursday that the central government had taken a "very serious note" of the incident. The Asian elephants -Ecology, Biology, Conservation and Management. Elephants becoming violent and trampling or goring the mahouts and spectators are not an unfamiliar sight in many Kerala religious festivals because of this callous attitude of its handlers. Kerala is finally coming to the rescue of its abused and tormented captive elephants. A 20-year-old male elephant was treated to seasonal enrichment to mark the completion of its four-month-long musth period at the Bannerghatta Biological Park here on Thursday. By that time the animal must have become familiar with all the weapons the trainers use and the punishments he will get if disobeyed. But there are also some organisations which take care of injured and sick elephants. But he has also killed a dozen people and three other pachyderms and is partially blind. On the one hand, some feel that tourists should only observe elephants, and not ride, walk or feed them. Elephants are wild animals but they are born and brought up in the security of large groups that sometimes can be as big as 30 or more in the case of Asiatic ones. The vet who issues the health certificate for each event should ensure that these conditions are met before issuing the certificate. Now about 56 years of age, the elephant can barely see the surrounding. The Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, the Kipling Camp in Madhya Pradesh and the Smiling Tusker Camp in Assam are examples of places where one can interact with elephants. Anupama has said. The rules also state that elephants should not carry loads for more than 8 hours a day. We are so driven by our selfish needs that how we treat those who cannot speak for themselves has become irrelevant? Some observation on musth in captive elephants in Kerala. A general argument against NGOs that work for animal protection is that they are heavily funded by international agencies and that the NGOs are merely obliging their funding agencies and making money. A few years ago, following reports that captive elephants, including those owned by the temple body in Kerala, suffered silently due to neglect, India’s Supreme Court directed that tuskers in custody be registered and covered by insurance. Generally, it is the bull elephants that are destined to endure much of this torture as they are the ones that are in demand in religious events because of their tusks and height. You can manage them any time by clicking on the notification icon. Because biologically they are not made to live among humans. The musth period, a condition of elephants characterized by highly aggressive behavior, accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones, lasts 3 to 4 months for an elephant. In a 2008 directive to the Devaswom board, the government lays out specific rules for elephants being used for temple functions and processions. (CNN)The death of a pregnant wild elephant, suspected to have been fatally injured after eating fruit stuffed with firecrackers that exploded in her mouth, has stirred public outrage in India as authorities investigate the incident. With elephants playing such a central role in Kerala, it’s little wonder that it occupies the pride of place as the state animal. Deep Look Impaction. Circuses have been a mode of entertainment for many years around the world, and India has been no exception. - The journey should be as stable as possible with least number of jerks and sudden shocks while driving. - Each festival location should have a sheltered space for elephants or temporary thatched sheds must be erected for this. He first started getting interested in the care of elephants when his elder brother started the job of a mahout. Aanakkoodu in Konni is a well-known training centre in Kerala. At the end of the musth cycle, Iyer claims the elephants are routinely tortured. The elephant is not a big dog awaiting. At the age of 15, Sunil would accompany his brother to his job. Even among the highly rated, some like Thechikottu Ramachandran command a higher premium than the others. Gulf News is focusing on the treatment of Kerala’s captive elephants, which are primarily used for religious ceremonies and for logging in forest areas. Originally named Mothi Prasad, he was brought to Kerala at the age of 18 and finally received the name Ramachandran when he was bought by Thechikkotukavu temple, in Kerala. Once at the venue, the elephant[s] should be given a security circle with the help of local police and event volunteers. These wounds appear at the back of the elephant mostly on hind legs and chains are wrapped over it so that it is always in pain, fear and in control. Most of the temple elephants are chained in more than one part of the body. Wild elephants are trapped by using pens or stockades (they are traps) and female decoys. When wild elephants wander into areas of human areas, people chase them away with loud noises and firecrackers. But, nobody saw the pain the living form of the deity endured, as it moved slowly from one worshipper to the next. Other methods include chasing and lassoing them from atop trained elephants, employing nooses concealed in the ground, and pit traps. The elephant moves into a fantasy of the wild as it is under the physiological condition … Indian authorities are investigating the incident. During musth, the elephant will be in a highly distressed state due to secretion from its temporal ducts and can turn violent at the slightest provocation. Fate of Kerala’s temple elephants is far worse than their counterparts in the wilderness. In case the top of the structure uses iron sheets, it should be covered with gunny sacks, mats made of coconut palm leaves and/or grass. The caparisoned jumbos now make regular appearances at Muslim and Christian festivals. This website stores cookies on your computer. and It should also be ensured that there is enough food and water to consume en-route. Elephants have very few sweat glands and they are located on the feet, near cuticles. 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However, greedy elephant owners and event organisers ignore or hide that fact and force the hapless animals appear at as many events as possible for huge fees. While this can be done by a human being or another animal, such as a horse, it is likely that elephants were preferred because its height increased the visibility of the deity. All rights reserved. The tallest one is considered a winner and mahouts and trainers employ devious tricks for this. Raman is a celebrity, both in the real world as well as on social media, with thousands of fans. Modi says government committed to farmers’ welfare, Labuschagne set to step up for Australia against India. The death of a pregnant wild elephant, suspected to have been fatally injured after eating fruit stuffed with firecrackers that exploded in its mouth, has stirred public outrage. The annual cultural feast has echoes in the present-day Thrissur Pooram where two temples face off in an exhilarating contest headlined by parasol-sporting tuskers and an array of drummers. Elephants have very few sweat glands and they are located on the... Fire, explosives and loud noise. While the ban on the use of elephants in circuses was welcomed, when it comes to using elephants for tourism, there are two distinct views. Anupa Kurian-Murshed, Senior Digital Content Planning Editor. However, the communist government’s efforts to ban the superstar were given a spin, with many saying Hindu customs and traditions were now under threat. And then died," he said. However, it has also brought to focus the issue of mistreatment of animals in India. To find out more about the cookies and data we use, please check out our, Dear Reader, please register to read gulfnews.com, Password should have minimum 7 characters with at least one letter and number, Image Credit: Twitter/Diana Romanos @romdia, Image Credit: Courtesy of CUPA, Bangalore, Image Credit: Picture courtesy: Anup K. Venu, "If India truly has to be a democracy, then its animals, too, need to be ensured of their right to safety, dignity and choice, otherwise it is just thinly veiled psychopathy. However, latest studies have indicated that the largest mammal on earth can actually control blood flow to specific areas of its body which can be used to control body temperature. Unable to move and deprived of sleep, the starved animals are rewarded with food only when they accept harnesses without a struggle. Once a year bull elephants go into ‘musth’, a period extending 1 – 2 months in which the body’s reproductive hormones rise. - Event organisers should appoint a volunteer to always be around the elephants so he or she can avoid people from teasing or frustrating the mammals. Traditional guidelines say the use of hook should only impart pain, not injure the animal, but it is never strictly followed and there are many incidents of wanton use of the tool resulting in grievous injuries to the elephant. They should be given water after every three hours of work. Called Erandakettu in Malayalam, it is caused by undigested food that blocks the intestine. Whether elephants are used in temples or in the tourism industry, the fact remains that mahouts often torture them and the majestic creatures live a life chained to misery and brute force. An elephant protects a young girl who met with an accident. Apart from this, hobbles are often used to prevent their free movement. Elephants are always wild and the notion that those in man’s custody are friendly with us is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain that binds the animal. A freshwater dolphin gets attacked and cut up for entertainment in the North East. "The postmortem report says that there was an explosion in the mouth. The tusker, known by the names Kochu Ganeshan and Bharathi Balanarayanan, has been chained at a coconut plantation at Mundakkara in Balussery since April violating all rules regarding the elephant care during musth period. The capture of tuskers is banned in southern India, and the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve protects the elephants in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Vyloppilly Sreedhara Menon’s Sahyante Makan (Son of Sahya/Western Ghats), narrates the life of a captive elephant, who yearns to return to Sahyadri or the Western Ghats. It is worthwhile to inquire how many of the freed animals survived”, says Ravindranathan Nair, treasurer of the Kerala Elephant Owners’ Association, who owns two elephants himself. According to animal activists, the owners parade elephants in musth (a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by highly aggressive … Privacy Policy. © Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2020. Repetitive and systematic training methods teach the animals to respond to simple commands. Several elephants in … An elephant over 65 years of age is considered as retired and should be exempted from work. Dating back 1400 years, it is also called the devamela or devasangamam (rendezvous of the gods and goddesses). Balussery: An elephant has been tortured for the past three months in the name of musth, it is alleged. We see what we want to see. Details of all events that includes elephant processions should be submitted at least 72 hours prior to the event with relevant Forest Rangers and Station House Offices. Animals, including elephants, were abused using sticks with nails, whips with metal wires and metal rods with sharp tipped hooks. There is no other way to describe it. Musth or must is a periodic condition in bull (male) elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones. Testosterone levels in an elephant in musth can be on average 60 times greater than in the same elephant at other times. He ensures that the elephant is fed, bathed daily and also alerts the owner to any illness, parasitic infection or musth. Their skins are slashed with knives, and trained elephants are used to push the captured beasts into submission. We can only tame it by breaking its will. Elephants with symptoms of ‘musth’ will not be allowed to enter Swaraj Round on May 12, 13 and 14, District Collector T.V. - During night events, power outages can wreak fear so generators are a must. This young elephant had just emerged from his musth -- an annual cycle when the bulls are in heat. Between each elephant, there should be a distance of 1.5 metre measured belly to belly and 4 metres measured head to head or head to tail to avoid accidental body contact which could injure or scare the elephants. Several of these regulations have been amended slightly over the course of the years but these fundamental rules apply since 2003. A group of elephant lovers at Vaikom here have been supplying captive elephants stranded in the temple town due to the lockdown a daily treat of pineapples. Even the state government’s emblem sports a pair of elephants. Her jaws were mangled, wounds were infested with maggots and she had a month-old foetus in her womb. Mature male African Savannah elephants are known to periodically enter a temporary state of heightened aggression called “musth”, often linked with increased androgens, particularly testosterone. A mention of caparison on an elephant in Melpathoor Narayana Bhattathiri’s Aṣṭamiprabhandha is deemed to possible proof of elephant parades in temples in the late 1500s to early 1600s. There are at least 700 of them in captivity, and more than 7,000 in the wild. As for logging, no elephant of height below 2.10 metres can used for logging. There are different types of sticks used to beat up the elephant. Lack of sweat glands and standing in scorching heat. It is a severe condition that has led to the death of many captive elephants in Kerala. Being wild animals they are afraid of fire, loud noises and explosives. Distinct cases of abuse that shocked many, but we, as a nation have been doing this for long, embedded within religious traditions, ancient monarchy and industry. They live in a daily battlefield, enduring continued abuse. And therein lies the fundamental problem – animal rights is at a superficial level, there is reaction, never any true action to stop these centuries of untold violence and captivity. Reportedly tied in one place for the last 20 years, the emaciated elephant was not able to sit, stand or lie down properly, precariously balancing its body on three legs, as seen in a video released by Liz Jones, of Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) in 2015. We don't know yet what caused the explosion," Ali said, adding that the animal was found to be one-month pregnant. Following numerous reports about the abuse of animals, the government implemented regulations to prohibit the training and exhibition of animals protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. - Each truck should be accompanied by two assistant mahouts. We’ll send you latest news updates through the day. They are intelligent social beings with very strong family bonds and relationships within the group that they remember. Only elephants that are insured, fitted with microchips and those with certified ownerships registered with authorities in Kerala can be used for any temple procession or function. Why are farmers protesting, and what can Modi do? Potable water from a river or running source should be provided along with succulent foods during hot summers. It is probably because elephants are big that they attract attention of the NGOs”, he says. KAU Publication, 1989. During this time, even well-trained mahouts maintain their distance so as to not aggravate the elephant. This is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill," he said on, Conservationists estimate that India has some 27,000. We have not caught any of the culprits. "In order to give treatment, it has to be immobilized but we could not use a tranquilizer while it is in the water because then the animal can drown," Ali said. When the science of behavioural profiling began to emerge in the 1970s, in the US, they found animal cruelty to be a common psychopathic trait among criminals characterised by a distinct lack of remorse. In addition to these, a 2007 directive from the Forest department in the state also lays out the following rules: - A minimum standing space of 4m by 3m for each elephant. Musth is noticed in adult male Asian Elephants between. A number of torture/training tools are used to discipline and manage captive elephants in Kerala. Do they have a choice? Once the elephant is seen receptive, mahouts give them food and water and the training continues in this cruel fashion until the animal is ready to obey every commands that the trainers give. Timber logging over steep and rocky areas is prohibited and so is the use of the elephant’s tusks or jaws constantly for dragging logs. Can it be justified? neighbouring Kerala appear to prefer female elephants, particularly considering the difculties of handling males during musth, the preference for tuskers in Kerala seem to have led to a highly skewed, male-biased sex ratio (currently M : F ~ 5 : 1) in the state. © Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2020. Sunil Kumar (44), an elephant owner and mahout from Vaikom, spends his days taking care of his 45-year-old pachyderm Mavellikara Ganapathi. The elephant was roaming near Aliyar and it broke the window of a … One common trick is to beat the elephant’s feet with these sticks. - If an elephant that has acted out and been uncontrollable at an event, it should not be used for any other such events. And to extract obedience from such a fearsome magnificent animal, we need to constantly remind it of the pain it will go through otherwise. Owners are happy. Elephants with height lower than 1.5m cannot be used for carrying loads while elephants shorter than 2.10m should not be used for logging operations. In 2019 Kerala’s government banned the tallest tusker in India, Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, or Raman, from opening the Thrissur Pooram, Kerala’s biggest temple festival. In between, he had lost sight in one eye after one of the helpers allegedly got drunk and beat him up. Recent findings revealed that 342 human lives have been lost during the last three decades in Kerala, India, due to human-elephant conflict; more than 94 percent of victims are mahouts (a person who drives an elephant). Lack of glands means they are not able to control body temperature like other mammals and it was thought that flapping of ears is a means to cool itself in the scorching heat. Captive elephants are usually fed with leaves of palm and coconut tree which are full of indigestible fires. Interestingly, the elephant craze as well as the locations of some of the state’s best elephants are mostly towards the south of the state, more specifically from Palakkad to Thiruvananthapuram. This section is about Living in UAE and essential information you cannot live without. They are found in zoos and temples and are used to carry tourists at forts and in forest reserves. As per the latest order, hooks with metal parts are banned, but even this has been violated many times, often during prestigious festivals such as Thrissur Pooram, observers say. I analyse Sahyande Makan: The Elephant Project (2008), a cross-cultural theatrical production in Malayalam and Japanese by the Kerala-based group Theatre Roots and Wings, as an instance of ‘zooësis’. What we then build is a relationship of fear and obedience. Gireeshkumar, who is an elephant lover and a member of the forest task force for elephants, says captive elephant owners are unfairly targeted. There are even official orders against him participating in crowded festivals, but organizers manages to flout them with abandon. Every moment spent with human beings is torture for the elephant. Musth is a periodic surge in testosterone – up to 60 times than normal – in bull elephants characterized by aggressive behaviour. The elephant would stand right there for hours for fear of the stick falling down if he moves as much as an inch. Mahouts should not drink when caring for the elephant. Subdued elephants are ready for sale and training. If undetected and untreated in the early stages of the disease, impaction of the colon leads to the painful death of the animal. It’s been 60 years since India's first national animal welfare law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960), which criminalizes cruelty to animals, was established. And, truly, what is the point of these laws? It is a deliberate wound inflicted on an elephant so that it can be controlled easily by applying an object like stick or chain on it later. The ban was eventually revoked. The presence of at least an elephant has become mandatory for temple festivals in the state. Elephant sightings are common on the streets of Kerala. Mahouts and helpers always carry knives and the usage is plain and obvious. “You find cows tethered in the sun, and dogs caged in numerous homes in the state, but NGOs point fingers at captive elephant owners. Abuse is a sign of what psychologists call Zoosadism, because it is driven by the intent of torture, no matter how subliminal. During the period of musth, they are banned from doing work, including taking part in any ceremonial events that endangers public life. - During night travel, reflectors should be attached to tail and forehead of elephant. The tradition continues to this day. Elephants are used all over Asia as work animals but nowhere in the world is their role central in religious ceremonies as in Kerala. Elephants between height of 2.10m and 2.25m should not carry logs exceeding 750 kg in weight while those taller than 2.25m should not carry logs heavier than 1000kg. This is strongly refuted by the NGOs. Physical pain and mental torture are the ways used to inject this fear, of course. The short one is slightly fat at one end and normally used to beat the elephant without injuring it. The animal could not eat and became weak. The bull hook is used by mahouts and helpers to control elephants. Elephants are mammals of the family Elephantidae and the largest existing land animals. We look at some of these rules here: The person who trains and takes care of the elephant, the mahout, has to be someone with certified experience of at least 3 years according to the document. The crush cages allow for only minimum movement. The musth period, on an average, lasts 3 to 4 months for an elephant. - In festivals where more than 5 elephants are set to participate, event organisers should take up a public liability insurance policy. From feeding regulations and space to rules to be followed by the mahouts or elephant caretakers and trainers, this document lists several rules when it comes to the maintenance of captive elephants. The elephant's death triggered outrage nationwide. The nearly blind elephant with the history of abuse reportedly gets frenetic easily amid the crowd and while in ceremonial procession and has killed even a fellow elephant. Following the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Mannarkad forest division, arguments have flown thick and fast between wild life protection activists and lovers of captive elephants. Each elephant being used should have a fitness certificate from relevant authorities. During this period, when the testosterone levels will be upto 60 times higher than the regular period, the elephants tend to be markedly aggressive and easily turn violent. She was found again two days later, standing in the river. The elephant was found injured on May 23, but she moved away when forest officers and a veterinarian tried to immobilize her for treatment, according to Ali. BJP leader and well-known animal protection activist, Maneka Gandhi said, “The forest secretary should be removed and the forest minister must resign”. It’s been over 150 years since the first Indian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was set up in 1861. And we do it by unleashing excessive, brutal and unjustifiable violence on the hapless animal that has been trapped. - Any sedation given to control nerves should be prescribed by a vet. Dangerous, so they are not made to live a completely different environment where more than 60 elephants she found. 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