New Delhi: Taming a wild elephant is not easy. Neither for the tamer, nor for the animal itself. The elephant is first chained and then mercilessly beaten till it gives in. However, the Environment Ministry has given the West Bengal government permission to do precisely this.
An RTI application filed by CNN-IBN revealed that the Environment Ministry gave the go-ahead for the capture of four wild elephants that had been destroying crops in south Bengal.
Environmentalists, however, allege that such random capturing of elephants is no solution to the problem.
"Capturing en masse doesn't reduce conflict. What in fact happens is that the herd structure is disturbed and it may lead to more conflict," says environmentalist Ashok Kumar.
What is worse is that the ministry's order violates its own wildlife laws.
Section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act (amendment 1993) clearly states that no captured animal like an elephant shall be kept in captivity unless the Chief Wildlife Warden is satisfied that such an animal cannot be rehabilitated in the wild.
Ironically, the Chief Widllife Warden in the letter to the West Bengal government states that the wild elephants should be captured because West Bengal is running out of captive elephants.
The West Bengal state government has already released tenders for the capture of the wild elephants. The big question is how did the Environment Ministry at the Centre allow the trapping of wild elephants in violation of wildlife laws?