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November 20, 2015

Jumbo from Gemini Circus Dies of Inhumane Treatment

Humane Society International/India calls for immediate custody and proper rehabilitation of the remaining elephants

Humane Society International/India

  • An elephant bathing. Frank Loftus/HSI

Update, Nov. 23, 2015: The remaining elephants have been rescued and are being housed in a government rescue centre. HSI will follow up to ensure justice is done.

Expressing grief over the death  of Chanchal, an elephant belonging to Gemini Circus, Humane Society International/India has urged Bangalore’s Forest Department to take immediate ownership of the remaining elephants and complete their rehabilitation to avoid any more casualties. The five elephants from Gemini Circus were held in pitiable conditions after Gemini was unrecognized. Since then the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and other NGOs, including HSI, have been pleading for the Forest Department to take quick action to address this issue and free the remaining elephants.

Background: On November 12, 2015, AWBI conducted an inspection at Gemini Circus and their report clearly revealed that the five elephants at the location needed urgent and much needed veterinary treatment, care and rehabilitation to address their ongoing physical and mental suffering. The living conditions, housing facility and the overall upkeep and maintenance for these pachyderms were extremely deplorable. Constant confinement and tethering added to their misery. The report also cited that such a treatment violated The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. A later observation on Chanchal indicated that the animal was recumbent, in excruciating pain, completely immobile and was unable to stand up. She sadly passed away as her condition deteriorated further in the past few days as she stopped responding to food and water.

Vasudev Murthy, Honorary Animal Welfare Officer for AWBI, said, “We are deeply saddened at Chanchal’s death and want to ensure that the remaining four elephants do not meet a similar fate. What’s more lamentable is despite the diagnosis and complete knowledge of her poor state, she died due to lack of medical treatment and sheer apathy. We urge that the elephants are moved out at the earliest and are thoroughly rehabilitated to avoid any unfortunate incident in future.”

Gemini Circus was no longer recognized by AWBI in June 2015 after an inspection indicated that they were not conforming to animal welfare standards. Since then, the animals have been housed at Fun Fort, an old amusement park on the outskirts of Srirangapatna near Mysuru in unsuitable conditions.HSI/India has been working closely with AWBI and other local organizations to monitor the status and improvement of these pachyderms.

Save elephants and other wildlife from abuse.

Facts:

  • The section 42 of The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, mandates that elephants in captivity must have “adequate facilities for housing, maintenance and upkeep”.
  • The section 11 (f) of The PCA Act, 1960, states that keeping “any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord constitutes cruelty; sections 3 and 11(1)(a) of The PCA Act, 1960, prohibits treating any animal in a way that causes unnecessary pain or suffering;

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, nmukherjee@hsi.org, 91-9985472760

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