SC for humane approach in driving jumbos away

SC for humane approach in driving jumbos away

The top court had restrained the states from using spikes and fireballs to drive elephants away. DH FILE PHOTO

The Supreme Court on Monday directed a senior officer from the Union government, in charge of wildlife division, to adopt a “humane” approach in devising strategy to deal with the cruelty faced by elephants due to use of fireballs and spikes in driving them away.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta gave one month’s time to R P Thomas, Joint Director, Wildlife Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to give a comprehensive report, dealing with the issue.

Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that the officer would look into the problem in order to ensure no cruelty was faced by the wild elephants.

An advocate, appearing for environmentalist Prerna Singh Bindra, contended that the spikes and fireballs were still being used by the officials to drive away the elephants, resulting in serious injuries to them.

She claimed due to success rate of fireballs, the staff were being trained in Karnataka for its use over there.

Advocate Anitha Shenoy, representing the Karnataka government, countered her charges, claiming removal of spikes have been taking place and staff were sensitised against its use. She said except in Madikeri region which faced recent flood, the exercise has been undertaken everywhere for removal
of the spikes.

The court, however, put the matter for further consideration on October 22, awaiting a report from the Union government’s officer.

On the PIL filed by conservationist Bindra and others for checking elephant deaths and curbing human-animal conflict, the top court had earlier restrained the states from using spikes and fireballs to drive them away.