Suttur Mutt jumbo calves to be seized, but have nowhere to go

BBP may not be able to accommodate the elephants due to permitted quota

Suttur Mutt jumbo calves to be seized, but have nowhere to go

 After two elephant calves—Drona and Champa of Suttur Mutt - ran amok on Wednesday, putting civilian lives at risk, it is learnt that the Forest department has issued an order to seize the animals and return them to Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), from where they had been adopted.

Though efforts are being made to take back the elephants, the department, however, is in real quandary as there is no space at the BBP. A directive to seize the elephants from the Mutt had been issued by Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) of the Forest department to the Executive Director of the BBP, back in June 2014. 

When there was a delay in bringing back the calves, the CWW had even sent a reminder to the BBP to retrieve the elephants. Yet, the elephants were not taken into custody, a decision which almost threatened the lives of civilians on October 29.

The calves were given to the Suttur Mutt, following a Government Order in late 2012 as the Mutt handed over two elephants Maasthi and Lakshmi, which too had caused trouble, back to the Forest department. However, no permission was sought from the Central Zoo Authority for the same. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and the CWW, confirmed that an order to this effect had been dispatched to the BBP.

“In June, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) wrote to the Forest department to immediately take back the elephants given to the Mutt. The CZA guidelines stipulate that no zoo animal can be given away to any individual or organisation without seeking its (CZA’s) permission, following which we wrote to the BBP,” he said.

Executive Director of the BBP, Range Gowda, said that he had written to Mysore Forest department authorities “three to four days ago,” to make arrangements to seize the animals. However, the Deputy Conservator of Forests, V Karikalan, said that action to seize the animals would be initiated as soon as his office receives communication from the BBP.

Housing problem

“The BBP may not be able to accommodate the elephants, as it cannot exceed the permitted quota of elephants in a zoo, as prescribed by the CZA. As this has become a problem, the department is now looking at accommodating the calves in other zoos in the State, including Mysore Zoo.” Luthra said.

While there are 10 elephants in the Mysore Zoo, zoo sources said that the pachyderms could be accommodated at Koorgalli Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre of the zoo, the construction of which is nearing completion on the outskirts of the city.

When asked if the department had conducted a survey of the number of elephants in the temples, Luthra said that such a survey was yet to be taken up. 

“However, these are the only two zoo animals which were given away to a private organisation,” he said.

Notice

Karikalan has issued a notice to the Mutt, warning it not to take the calves out of the Mutt premises, without the department’s permission.

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