'Tortured' Kolhapur jumbo to be shifted to Karnataka

'Tortured' Kolhapur jumbo to be shifted to Karnataka

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to move ‘Sunder’, a “tortured” elephant now ke­pt in Kolhapur, to the Wil­dlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Karnataka.

A Division Bench of Justices V M Kanade and A K Menon dismissed the petition filed by local MLA Vinay Kore challenging the powers of the state forest department to issue an order to relocate the elephant.

The animal, earlier housed at Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur, was gifted by Kore to the temple trust. However, it was later shifted out following allegations of ill-treatment meted out to it by the trust authorities.

Although the court did not specify any relocation timeline, state government counsel J S Saluja said, “We will do the needful, taking into consideration the fact that the elephant is still in musth (heat) condition.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had also moved the High Court seeking the implementation of the August 21, 2012, order passed by the Maharashtra joint secretary (Forests) to move Sunder to a sanctuary. The organisation had mooted a suggestion that the elephant be shifted to the wildlife reserve in Mathura.

The plight of the 14-year-old tusker came to light in July 2012 after a medical examination carried out by veterinary officers revealed that it was underweight with scars all over the body and a hole in one of the earlobes for the use of a metal ‘ankush’, which indicated regular abuse being inflicted on the animal by the mahout.

Following the medical examination in August 2012, the forest department issued an order to the principal chief conservator of forests, Nagpur, to relocate the elephant.