CZA preparing protocol for freeing captive jumbos in wild

CZA preparing protocol for freeing captive jumbos in wild

"The guidelines detailing steps for the translocation of captive elephants, which will be adopted by states across the country, is being prepared to ensure uniform implementation of the order," CZA Member Secretary B S Bonal told PTI.
He said the protocol will have minute details such as types of jumbo and the age at which they can be translocated.

"Though there are already translocation guidelines from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the protocol will be exhaustive and like a bible for zoo officials as they shift the jumbos from captivity to forests. They will have to strictly adhere to the norms," the official said.

Bonal pointed that some states like Assam have already been given funds for the purpose but the protocol will ensure uniformity and give a direction in implementing the process.

The CZA order issued November last year stipulates that all elephants kept at zoos should be immediately relocated to elephant camps and rehabilitation centres of the forest department or inside forest areas.It pointed out that upkeep of large animals like elephants is not only costly but also confines them to a limited area in the zoo.

The decision, which came following complaints from animal rights activists that jumbos are often chained for long hours, would give freedom to around 140 elephants in 26 zoos and 16 circuses in the country.

In forests and national parks, they would be able to roam and graze freely initially under the eyes of traditional elephant trainers and later on their own.However, no decision has been taken about the fate of elephants in temples or those working in camps where they are used to lift timber.Elephants in natural habitats are believed to have longer life spans and better health than those in captivity.India has estimated 28,000 wild elephants living in forest reserves and national parks.

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