Moulvibazar court orders an end to ‘cruelty’ against elephant calves during taming

A Moulvibazar court has issued an order to end ‘cruel behaviour’ during the training of elephant calves.

Bikul Chakrabarty, Moulvibazar
Published : 8 Feb 2022, 06:17 AM
Updated : 8 Feb 2022, 06:17 AM

The court also asked for an explanation about the ‘inaction’ of the Forest Department and police in stopping the abuse of the captive animals.

Moulvibazar Chief Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Ali Ahsan issued the order on Monday, according to a press statement.

The court issued the order after it noticed a report published in a national daily and a YouTube video showing how elephant calves are abused.

Elephant owners train elephant calves through violence at a forest in Goalbari Union of Juri Upazila, the media report said.

Generally, a four-year-old elephant calf is beaten gruesomely to tame it, the court said in its order, citing the report. Sometimes, the trainers use an iron device called a ‘kuku’ to torture the calves. The abuse is done to ensure a four or five-year-old elephant calf can be used to work.

During the two to three months of training, a calf is separated from its mother. ‘Severe physical torture’ is a key part of the training as well. Often the calves struggle and wrench in pain, trying to get free and trumpets, raising its trunk in the air. It is given straw mixed with sweets to eat at intervals and the trainers then force it to move to a different location, where the calf is chained again.

During the painful process, the calves sometimes collapse. Some even die. Those that survive often have little choice but to follow orders.

Many elephants go mad from the abuse, and some even attack and kill humans.

Though Bangladesh already has laws in place to protect wild animals, including elephants, such illegal and archaic strategies are still used to tame them.

The court ordered Divisional Forest Officer Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of the Moulvibazar Wildlife Management & Nature Conservation Division, and Sanjay Chakrabarty, chief of Moulvibazar Juri Police Station to investigate the issue and submit a report by Mar 15.

The report should include the whereabouts of those involved in elephant abuse process, the number of elephants killed in the gruelling training since independence, information on how the elephants were caught, the number of licensed elephant trainers and the legal steps taken to prevent the torture of elephants, it said.

Both the forest officer and police official were asked for an explanation about their ‘inaction’ on the issue.

OC Sanjay Chakrabarty said he has yet to receive the order in writing, but will take the appropriate action once it arrives.