No More Elephant Safari in the Corbett National Park
In a recent order, the Uttarakhand High Court has banned the commercial activities using the elephants in the state. After the HC decision, the elephant joy ride in the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Uttarakhand has been closed permanently. Though, it is a big disappointment for the wildlife tourists visiting Corbett National Park and Rajaji National Park for the elephant joy ride, but the wildlife conservation activists are very happy over this decision of the Uttarakhand High Court.
Along with banning the commercial use of elephants safari in the state, the Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttarakhand has been given the order by the court to take control of all the private elephants that were being used for the commercial purposes within the 24 hours. Animal rights activists and wildlife conservation activists have welcomed the decision. It is indeed an excellent move by a Higher Court in a country where the people least bothered about the animal cruelty and the system lacks a strong animal rights law.
As per the decision been given by the Uttarakhand HC last week, the Rajaji National Park will be the temporary shelter for all the private elephants that will be captured from their owners. The elephant will be going through a medical examination by the team of medical experts for any injuries, wound or disease, and they will be treated within 12 hours. The Chief Warden has to issue the proper receipts to the elephant owners when taking possession of the elephants.
The Uttarakhand High Court has been prohibited the commercial use of elephants citing the violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Apart from banning the elephant joy ride, the court has also reduced the number of safari jeep going into the reserve forest. As per the ruling, a maximum of the 100 commercial jeeps should be allowed to enter in the Corbett park zones like Sitabani, Bijrani and Dhela zones in a day. Also, the same number of safari jeeps will be allowed in the other parks like Kalagarh and Rajaji National Park in a day.
At present around 200 safari jeeps are allowed to enter in the Corbett Park in a day. A maximum of 6 adults and 2 children are allowed in a jeep. The HC has also said that only those private vehicles that have the RTO-issued permits should be allowed in the National Parks of Uttarakhand. The HC gave the ruling after hearing a PIL filed in the year 2012.