No pride in Elephant Ride
India gives elephants National Heritage animal status due to its importance in maintaining ecological imbalance. Elephants are worshipped in India and used in religious rituals. But they are also tortured in labour camps and entertainment industry for giving rides to tourists. About 100 captive elephants carry tourists along the kilometer-long path up the hill to the Amer fort in Jaipur. It is a steep climb on hard cobbled stones. The combined weight on the elephant’s back of two tourists, the mahout (elephant keeper) and the clunky wooden seat that holds passengers can be up to 300kg. The elephants at the Amer Fort are in dire need of medical help. The ailments range from tuberculosis, blood problems, blindness, malnourishment, and foot injuries from walking on hard surfaces.
World Animal Protection India organised a cycle rally on the eve of World Elephant day on 11th August 2019 in Jaipur to spread awareness on cruelty against elephants. The rally was aimed at making people aware of the cruelty against elephants used for giving joy rides to those visiting the iconic Amber Fort in Jaipur. Encouraging the use of bicycles rather than burdening elephants was the aim of the protest, organised by World Animal Protection (WAP) to mark World Elephant Day in Jaipur. Protestor took to streets on bicycles demanding an end to elephant rides at iconic Amer Fort.
About 130 people including the elderly, youth and women participated in the rally organised by the World Animal Protection and took and took a pledge never to take a joyride on elephants. The protestors gathered at Patrika Gate in Jaipur at 6 am in the morning and demanded an end to elephants being used to carry tourists to Amer Fort. The celebrity supports Mr. Sangram Singh (International Wrestler and Actor) and Mrs. Twinkle Patodiya (Pride of Rajasthan beauty pageant winner) also appealed to the people to boycott elephant rides. The event mobilized the local people of Jaipur against cruel entertainment rides and spread the message that “There is no pride in elephant ride”.
The Elephant is a wild animal even if has been domesticated or kept in captivity. Captivity can be a serious threat to elephant population. They are illegally captured in the wild and trafficked into the lucrative tourism industry. Elephants belong to the wild and should not be used for entertainment in tourism industry if we want to preserve our heritage animal.