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Kaziranga Centenary Celebration or Elephant Circus ?

4th Feb., 2005

Billed as the 'Century's Greatest Conservation Success Story' a huge 'Centenary Celebration' is to be held at Kaziranga National Park from 11 to 17 February 2005. According to the programme on the Centenary web site www.kaziranga100.com apart from seminars, debates and exhibitions, throughout the one-week event there will also be "elephant football, elephant tug of war, mock elephant capturing, elephant joyrides, etc.".

An article that appeared on 29 January 2005 in the Indo-Asian New Service, datelined Kaziranga and titled 'Elephants preparing for historic soccer match', says that the elephants are already "undergoing regular drills and practise sessions". An elephant soccer match is described as "one of the main attractions at the week long fest".

Many of these wild-caught elephants are undernourished and have come from a long distance. To put them through this sort of torture in front of an expected crowd of 50,000 people is cruel, undignified and inexcusable.

The article quotes the Field Director as saying "there will also be a demonstration by expert mahouts on how they catch wild elephants, besides elephant races and mock fights for the crowd". Exactly... for the crowd. This noble animal - which will be forced to relive perhaps the most traumatic event of its life - deserves more dignity than this.

As for the elephant who "can play the drum with perfect rhythm, while another can write a few English letters with chalk on a blackboard using his trunk", this appears to be an advertisement for a circus.

We have written to the Centenary management pointing out that the Kaziranga Centenary Celebration is an important milestone for conservation in India, and not a circus. We have requested them not to turn the event into an exploitive exercise for an endangered species that they strive so hard to protect in Kaziranga National Park.

If you wish to write to the Kaziranga Centenary management in protest, the email address is info@kaziranga100.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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