New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate on Tuesday expressed "grave concern" over "unnatural" deaths of elephants in Kerala and urged the government to make changes in the law to provide greater protection to the animal.
He said 533 elephants have died in the state in the last five years according to the state forest department and 44 were considered to be unnatural deaths.
"In the last five years, 533 elephants have died, as per the state forest department. Out of those, 44 were considered to be unnatural deaths, which could be due to electrocution, poisoning, poaching, accident or explosives like what happened in Palakkad district. It is a matter of grave concern," Valliyate told ANI.
The senior official of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for urgent intervention in the issue and noted that PETA has requested the Centre to include elephants to the list of wild animals who are prohibited for use for performance.
"If you look at the order passed in 1998, all wild animals have been prohibited except elephants. We have asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to make amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act. All exemptions given to a live elephant being held in the custody of private people should be taken away. That is the only way to provide protection to these animals," the PETA India Chief added.
In an incident which caused massive uproar, an elephant died on May 27 in Palakkad district after it was fed a fruit stuffed with crackers. Forest officials said that the pregnant elephant died standing in river Velliyar after it suffered an injury in its lower jaw.
Another elephant succumbed to his wounds in Kerala's Malappuram district on Monday after it was found seriously injured in North Nilambur forest range of the district. Officials said injury marks suggested that it could have been caused during a fight with other elephants.
Valliyate also suggested ways to tackle the human-elephant conflict prevailing in certain regions.
"There are more humane methods to tackle the situation. Methods like creating solar fencing and growing chillies in the conflict areas are some of the ways humans could manage the situation," he said. (ANI)