Elephants will no longer be part of India’s Republic Day parades.
This welcome decision will be a shot in the arm for those who would like to see abuse of our heritage animals stopped. The first step was when the Ministry of Environment & Forests during the tenure of Jairam Ramesh declared heritage status for the elephant.
While there is little doubt that many, many concerned people and organizations contributed to getting the decision to stop the use of elephants in the Republic Day parades into place, a huge debt is owed in particular to V.K. Venkatachalam of the Heritage Elephant Trust; Suparna Ganguly of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action and the Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation Centre; and Dr. Nanditha Krishna of the C.P. Ramaswamy Environmental Education Centre. They have campaigned relentlessly against the gross abuse of these magnificent animals.
That the majority of the approximately 3,500 elephants in private possession are illegally held with dubious “ownership” certificates is beyond any doubt. We must now redouble our efforts to ensure that all abuse of elephants––especially by temples and greedy individuals––must end.
––S. Chinny Krishna, Chairman Emeritus
Blue Cross of India, Chennai, India