TRANSFER OF CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     19th March 2024        
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Context: The Centre has notified a set of rules called the Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024 that liberalise the conditions under which elephants may be transferred within or between states.

Captive Elephants

  • About: Elephants are housed in diverse environments like zoos, sanctuaries, circuses, or camps, typically overseen by veterinarians.
  • Multifaceted Utility: These captive elephants serve various purposes including education, entertainment, and labor.

Transfer of Captive Elephants

  • Transfer Criteria: Circumstances for transfer include the owner's inability to maintain the elephant or when better upkeep is anticipated.
  • Intra-state Transfer Procedures: Health confirmation by a veterinarian and habitat suitability assessment by Deputy Conservator of Forests are prerequisites.

oChief Wildlife Warden decides upon approval or rejection based on provided documents.

  • Inter-state Transfer Regulations: Registration of the elephant's genetic profile with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is obligatory before transfer.

Transfer of Elephants

  • Accompaniment Requirement: The elephant being transferred must be accompanied by a mahout and an elephant assistant.
  • Health Certification: A health certificate from a veterinary practitioner is necessary, affirming the elephant's fitness for transport and absence of musth or infectious diseases.
  • Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022: Until August 2022, the Wildlife Protection Act explicitly prohibited the trade in wildlife including both wild and captive elephants. However amendments to the Act brought in an exemption that for the first time allowed captive elephants to be transferred.

oSurrender of captive animals: The Act provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.  

oNo compensation will be paid to the person for surrendering such items.  

oThe surrendered items become property of the state government.