At Wildlife SOS, our campaign to save elephants incorporates many components to address the protection, welfare and conservation of India’s elephants. We understand that in order to help abused elephants, there needs to be a safe place for them to go. That is why we have been working hard to expand our Elephant Hospital Campus. This allows us to focus on efforts to bring an end to elephant abuse through the ‘Refuse to Ride’ campaign. When we are successful in rescuing elephants in distress and they are “freed”, such elephants are welcome at our elephant care centres to receive long term medical care and rehabilitation.
Recently, there was a government order issued by the Forest Department to ‘retire’ 20 elephants in Jaipur. These elephants are old, blind, lame and debilitated out of the group of almost 100, giving tourist rides at Amer Fort. When we learnt about this in February, we immediately submitted our proposal to the authorities offering our support to take these elephants to our Elephant Hospital Campus, where their care would be overseen by our team.
Currently, we are awaiting a response on our offer. COVID restrictions have unfortunately delayed work as many government offices are functioning with skeletal staff.
There is also some possibility that the elephants could be retired to a private center in the state adjacent to Rajasthan. We are familiar with this center. If the elephants are indeed retired and that is where they go, we are satisfied that this will be a good outcome for these 20 elephants. However, the situation is not finalized and we offer our assistance to help with these elephants in any way we can.
There are over 2500 captive elephants in India that still need our help, including many more at Amer Fort who have previously been diagnosed with major medical problems including blindness, arthritis, and chronic injuries. The potential retirement of these 20 elephants is a victory that our supporters can celebrate. However, our work has only just begun and we will continue to work to bring a better life to India’s captive elephants and protect the remaining wild herds. Thank you for all you do to help secure a better future for elephants.