Chitwan jumbos move from chain to pen

  • Captive Elephant Care
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 30, 2014-

The Chitwan National Park has unchained 33 elephants in the past four months in its bid to provide the pachyderms better living conditions and help create a positive relationship between humans and animals in the sanctuary.

In a first in South Asia, the CNP with support from US non-profit organisation Elephant Aid International launched a campaign to allow all the 63 tame elephants in the park to lumber Sauraha’s scenic expanse chain-less within a year. The organisation has pioneered a new elephant care system termed ‘Compassionate Elephant Care’.

As many as 33 elephants including five from the Khorshor Elephant Breeding Centre on the CNP premises have been provided with a one-acre space each. “By the next year, we plan to free the remaining 30 elephants of chains,” Kamal Jung Kunwar, chief conservation officer at the park, said on Thursday.

Captive elephants in Nepal and elsewhere in South Asia are mostly restrained by ropes or chains on their feet within tiny enclosures as caregivers and professionals working to ensure the safety of the gentle giants are plagued with misconceptions that elephants will run amok and cause human injuries or deaths if they are left unchained.

This is precisely why around half of the elephants at the park and some 54 owned by private hotels in Sauraha, a tourist hub on the edge of the park, for use mostly in jungle safaris are still forced to endure hitting and chaining.

The new approach to dealing with the animals was aimed at doing away with the cruelty inherent in traditional care and ensuring elephant welfare for the benefit of both humans and the animals, said Kunwar.

Progressive care involves positive reinforcement and building sustainable relationship between caregivers and tuskers, reducing psychological stress on the animals.

Published: 31-05-2014 08:32

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