The reintroduction of “Mela shikar” has been proposed as a method of controlling wild elephant populations in West Bengal, India.
However, “Mela shikar”- which involves the capture of wild elephants -can result in severe injuries to the elephants and possibly even death due to strangulation by the ropes. It is well known that elephants have very strong emotional bonds with their family members and experience great distress and psychological trauma when they witness the capture and hear the distress cries of other elephants.
Of equally great concern is the treatment of the elephants once captured, the “taming” of the elephants is notoriously cruel and has received widespread international condemnation. During this long process, animals are often deprived of food and water, tied up and beaten relentlessly. Reports have revealed that many elephants die from their injuries, stress or starvation.
The Asia For Animals Coalition has written to the Ministry of Forests, urging them to reconsider the proposal to reintroduce Mela shikar in West Bengal, and instead to adopt humane and effective solutions. You can see a copy of our letter here