Thirteen elephants who are inhabitants of the exclusive elephant commune ‘Hathi Gaon’ near the historic fort of Amer have been sent to Gujarat. Four more such elephants are being sent after receiving the approval of the Rajasthan forest department.
These elephants, which are privately owned, were sent to various places in Gujarat using trucks along with their mahout (elephant rider).
It is learned that several religious organisations in Gujarat after knowing the plight of these elephants decided to hire them. These elephants were not getting adequate fodder as their owners were unable to feed them because of lull in the tourism trade.
Elephants hired by temples, religious organisations
At the instance of several temples in Gujarat and with the interventions of the priests, these elephants were hired by the temples and various social and religious organisations that would feed the elephants and also pay the mahouts. This apart, a fixed amount will be paid to the owners on a monthly basis.
The elephants will be placed at the services of the temples and religious organisations that would use them for processions, marriages and elephant rides.
Crisis in Hathi Gaon due to pandemic
Around 110 elephants live in Hathi Gaon, a facility created near the famous Amer fort where the elephant owners live with these pachyderms. But due to coronavirus, these elephants became redundant as the tourist destination remained closed and the tourist arrivals became negligible.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the owners found it difficult to feed the pachyderms as they lost their earnings. Rajasthan’s tourism department came to the rescue and provided money to the owners and the mahout for sustenance.
But because of the prolonged pandemic, the government also stopped the aid for some time that was revived after the interventions of the wildlife organisations citing elephant welfare.
Elephant rides resume
A week ago the elephant ride began in the Amer fort here, but as the foreign tourists were not there, the elephant owners did not get adequate numbers of tourists. Left in the lurch, the owners thought it best to accept the offers of the temples of Gujarat for their existence. It is learned that some of the temples have entered into a contract to use the elephants for three years.
A court here has put certain conditions on the transport of the elephant from one place to the other. The elephant could be transported in a truck with enough facilities for the storage of food and water. The movement of the elephants could be done only with the permission of the state forest department.
Thirteen elephants named Pawanmala, Rashid, Gulebakawali, Chanchal, Champa, Rajmangal, Roopkali, Bobby, Rangmala, Champa, Bijali, Somu, and Suman have already left for Gujarat. Four more elephants are going to be transported after obtaining the permissions.
The owners did not disclose the names of the temples or the organisations who have hired them.
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