The state government informed the Bombay high court on Monday that efforts taken by it to relocate the 14-year-old elephant Sunder from Kolhapur’s Jyotiba temple to Bengaluru failed as he is in a musth condition and cannot be shifted now.
Appearing for the government advocate JS Saluja filed a report stating that the efforts were taken by the authority concerned, but it was advised to defer the action. “Five attempts were made to shift the elephant but he gets angry. He is in such a condition that attempting to move him would prove dangerous for the forest personnel,” said Saluja.
The court accepted the report and adjourned the hearing till January 21. It directed the respondents to file their reply. The court was also informed by local MLA Vinajy Kore, who is a respondent in the petition, that steps are being taken to give proper care to the elephant.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Dr Manilal Valliyate on behalf of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals ( PETA). In July 2012, the plight of the elephant, which was gifted to the temple by a local MLA, was brought to the notice of PETA. Veterinary officers found the elephant to be underweight with scars all over his body and a hole in his ear which was created by the use of a metal ankus to control him. This indicated regular abuse inflicted on him by his mahout.
Following the inspection, in August 2012, the forest department issued an order to the principal chief conservator of forest, Nagpur, to relocate Sunder to a sanctuary in Karnataka; the expenses were to be borne by PETA.
Valliyate in his petition said that “despite two orders from the central and state authorities, the local forest department has not initiated any action even after a year.”