Wild Life Protection Bill: Parliamentary Panel Cautions Against Sale, Purchase Of Captive Elephants
A parliamentary panel chaired by former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has cautioned against encouraging the sale and purchase of captive elephants and recommended the need to strike a careful balance between tradition and conservation.
The committee, in its report on the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021, said it is "deeply conscious" of the fact that a number of religious and cultural institutions in some states own elephants which play a crucial role in daily worship and rituals.
It said it is in "broad agreement" with the amendments proposed for the improved care for seized and surrendered wild animals.
However, an amendment that provides for transfer or transport of elephants as per conditions prescribed by the central government 'has raised serious concern in the wildlife conservation community including amongst some state governments,' the report, which was submitted to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu virtually, stated.
The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Dec. 17, 2021, and was referred to the parliamentary panel on Dec. 25.
"The committee is deeply conscious of the fact that a number of religious and cultural institutions in some states own elephants which play a crucial role in daily worship and rituals."
"That is why it has attempted to strike a careful balance to ensure that age-old traditions are not interfered with while at the same time addressing widespread concerns that nothing should be done to even give an impression that private ownership of elephants and trade in them is going to be encouraged," the report said.
The committee categorically suggested amending all those clauses which may result in encouraging the sale and purchase of captive elephants.
It also strongly recommended the deletion of a clause as proposed in the Bill in order to ensure a future pathway of acquisition of elephants by religious institutions.
The panel expressed hope that such additional terms and conditions will be finalised after consultations with individuals and institutions that are active in the field of elephant conservation, protection and welfare. These rules should also have clear provisions for remedial action if the additional terms and conditions are not fulfilled.