India bans elephant rides in famous safari parks

The commercial use of elephants is to end in Jim Corbett National Park and Rajaji Tiger Reserve

Riding through the untamed nature of India’s national parks on the back of an elephant could soon be history.

Visitors to two major Indian safaris will soon lose the popular attraction. The local government of the state of Uttarakhand has listened to concerns raised by animal welfare activists and has banned the use of commercial elephants for joy rides in Jim Corbett National Park and Rajaji Tiger Reserve.

Eelephant rides will be banned in  Jim Corbett National Park and Rajaji Tiger Reserve — Shutterstock India bans elephant rides in famous safaris
Elephant rides will be banned in Jim Corbett National Park and Rajaji Tiger Reserve – Shutterstock

Uttarakhand High Court has claimed that the government should not remain a silent spectator of the actions that lead to severe exploitation and that the state should implement rules and regulations to protect its unique wildlife.

The move was welcomed by wildlife activists and environmentalists who said such measures are needed to conserve wildlife, the Times of India reported.

However, Jim Corbett and Rajaji aren’t the only locations where Indian authorities are thinking of banning elephant rides. Similar measures could be implemented in Goa and Rajasthan where a number of judges suggest the animals might possibly be subject to torture.

The court reacted to a petition filed by the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre that claims the elephants were not being taken care of adequately.

The welfare group said that 80 out of the 130 elephants used for tourism purposes in Jaipur are kept in private sheds with no facilities to cater for their basic needs. As a result, they suffer from “infections, back swelling and show symptoms of depression,” the Indian Times reported.

The petition also claimed that “these elephants are subjected to intense and relentless physical and mental cruelty and are made to live in extremely poor conditions. Elephants are made to work tirelessly in the scorching heat without any readily available access to water for them to drink”.