Dire Concerns Of Tuberculosis Re-Emergence In Asian Elephants

Tuberculosis (TB) is a reemerging disease in captive elephants, with increasing numbers of cases reported in the past two decades from different countries. Asia in particular houses a large population of captive elephants including 3400-3600 of them in India alone. Reports from Asian countries indicate that it is not unusual to find TB on postmortem examination in captive elephants.

According to Elsevier, a medical Journal published in May 2011, of the 446 elephants living in the U.S. between 1996 and 2013, fully 57 (12.4 per cent) had received a diagnosis of TB infection, a surprising number given the low rates of TB among humans in the U.S.

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Optimism As Fate Of India’s Captive Elephants Hangs In Balance

Closeup of a circus elephant's (elephantus) chained foot.

As animal welfare groups around the world eagerly await India’s Supreme Court verdict on the petition for captive elephants filed by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (WRRC), Ms. Suparna Baksi Ganguly, (SG) the Hon. President of WRRC weighs in on the future of India’s heritage animal, and the precarious situation of Kerala’s elephants. She is cautiously optimistic about the outcome, and calls on the government, animal welfare groups and the public to work collectively in order to provide adequate welfare for India’s cultural icon.

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Elephant Death Toll Rises As World Awaits Supreme Court Verdict

An Indian villager offers prayers over the bodies of two female elephants after they were electrocuted next to an electricity pole at Kiranchandra Tea Garden, on the outskirts of Siliguri, on September 10, 2016.
Two female elephants were found near a electricity pole where they seem to have been electrocuted, a forest official said. / AFP / DIPTENDU DUTTA        (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)

When will it stop? That’s the question many of us in the animal rights movement are trying to grapple with, as the death toll of elephants in Kerala continues to rise. In just over eight months, 16 captive and five wild elephants have died due to human interference — that is more than two elephants a month.

The most recent casualty was a bull elephant named Manissery Devidathan, only 52 years of age. According to the Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) Secretary, Mr. Venkitachalam, this elephant was forced to stand beneath the scorching sun in the same spot for more than a week, his hind legs paralyzed due to immobility, part of his right ear missing after ruthless torture, and his body swollen. For almost his entire life, this elephant was forced to participate in festivals, and transported between districts, with no rest during the festival seasons, a fate that all captive elephants of Kerala endure.

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There Is No Denying The Cruelty Of Putting Gods In Shackles

Kerala General Assembly Speaker facing the press after screening Gods in Shackles.

I’ve just returned from India after a whirlwind 45-day trip to launch the multiple award-winning documentary Gods in Shackles. In a historic move the Speaker of Kerala’s General Assembly Sree Ramakrishnan screened the film on the legislature’s grounds flanked by the mass media that covered the story across India.

But as expected, the release of this culturally sensitive film has angered temple authorities…

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Solidarity And Kinship With Nature And Non-Humans

Photo credit: Sangita Iyer - This Grasshopper is comfortably sitting on my finger, making direct eye contact with me

Our society’s obsession with economic growth and technology has fuelled impulsive actions and failed to consider the intricate roles of living beings. Production and consumption has taken center stage in human culture, causing depletion of natural resources and decimation of forests, ocean, wetlands and biodiversity…

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A Story Of Horror Behind Glamorous Cultural Festivals

Defenseless Vedakkumnathan Ganapathy after his capture; Photo: HATF

Death and devastation of the poor and defenseless has become a cultural norm in Kerala. And even as people and elephants are dying in stampedes at an alarming rate, the masses continue to cling on to their misguided myths.

Four elephants and six people have died in almost 220 incidents of stampedes over the past three months this year. The most recent casualty was a 55-year-old bull elephant, Keshavankutty owned by the infamous Guruvayur temple, a popular rental that fetched a significant amount of money for parading in cultural festivals.

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February Has Been Brutal For Elephants And Deadly For People In Kerala

Just imagine walking bare-footed on melted tar roads under a scorching sun and intense heat for one hour, and then forced to run for three hours in shackled legs. You are given no food or water for the duration of the six hours. Well, this is exactly what happened to some elephants near the world renowned Guruvayur temple in Kerala…

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Heart Breaking Stories Of Temple Elephants Of Kerala

The fate of an elephant named Thiruvambadi Ramabadhran hangs in the balance. His trunk is paralyzed. Unable to eat or drink he stands helplessly, as his handlers are engaged in their own chats. To make matters worse, he has contracted infectious foot and skin diseases, and has been placed in solitary confinement. He is shackled day and night, forced to stand on his own urine and excrement, his foot rot worsening by the day and pus continuing to ooze from his body wounds.

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Kerala’s Elephants Are Under The Lens Of Supreme Court Of India

GURUVAYUR, KERALA, INDIA - DECEMBER 03: Indian elephant in the Annakotta Sanctuary with legs in chains, which is dedicated to the Sri Krishna Temple on December 03, 2011 in Guruvayur, Kerala, India. (Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)

Kerala has been blacklisted as one of the two most notorious states in India for elephant abuse. This is one of the key conclusions of an eight-year long rigorous study on the welfare of more than 1400 elephants i.e. 30 per cent of India’s captive elephants. It was launched by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) and Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in 2005, and although the results until 2012 have been released, the research is ongoing.

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