Journey from being a Wild Elephant to a Captive Elephant:
Elephant calves are trapped in clandestine operations by unscrupulous poachers and sold under forged certification to elephant owners to become captive elephants. These elephants are then trained under extremely unfriendly conditions and with cruel techniques to become temple elephants or to be used for logging or the tourist industry.
Working Conditions for Captive Elephants in India:
The elephants survive in the harshest, most wretched conditions- plagued by foot sores, dehydration and are prone to injury. These working elephants have no permanent resting place and are often made to work continuously for 12-14 hours each day. In comparison with the Southern states, where traditional and religious obligations make it mandatory for better living and working conditions for captive elephants, the elephants in the Northern states are an abused lot.
Captive Elephant Welfare Project (CEWP):
Wildlife SOS is specifically addressing the problem of injured and sick elephants, made to work in stressful and oppressive conditions. Our aim is to reach out to lone elephants, wounded and dehydrated on the street which do not have access to proper medical care. The Captive Elephant Welfare Project aims to bring about a change in the state of the captive elephants in Delhi and other areas by providing veterinary support to the elephant owners and mahouts. Working closely with the elephant owners has shown us that many of them are concerned about the changing laws where captive elephant trading has been banned by the Indian Government and have shown an intention to start alternative livelihood means. Wildlife SOS believes that mahouts and elephant owners should be encouraged to adopt alternative livelihood options. This will help ensure that these gentle beasts of the forest stay where they belong. In addition, Wildlife SOS envisions the end of trafficking of wild elephants for captivity as one of its long term goals.
The Captive Elephant Welfare Project is presently supported by the Steven and Wendie Ryter and Humane Society International – Australia