License for mahouts riding elephants in Kerala

December 20th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by ANI  

By Juhan Samuel
Thrissur (Kerala), Dec 20 (ANI): The authorities in Kerala have made it mandatory for the mahouts to get training to tame elephants after which they will be issued a certificate and valid license card.
Following several incidents of mahouts being unable to tame the elephants, Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department has decided to train about 64 mahouts of Guruvayur Devaswom region of the state.
The training given to mahouts involves scientific methods of tackling the animal. They are also taught theory and elephant management including first aids for mahouts and elephants as well.
The five-day programme which began on Wednesday assumes significance the context of the increasing number of incidents of elephants running amok during festivals every year.
“Because of the consideration of public safety, the new rules have been implemented. Then it has been made mandatory and compulsory that the mahouts must be trained in elephant management and handling,” said K.N. Muraleedharan Nair, a veterinarian.
As part of the follow ups, the officials and other assigned authorities will be also conducting regular checks especially during festival seasons and if found guilty they will be punished.
During the training session, veterinary experts, senior mahouts would speak on various topics such as scientific methods of elephant care, elephant behavior and elephant management rules.
The mahouts say that after each session they are able to learn and understand every aspect, which they have not been aware of.
“The programme conducted by the Forest department seems to be very useful. We now understand many things, which were not known to us earlier,” said G. Velayudhan, a mahout.
As per the records, there are around 800 captive elephants in the state. More than 100 deaths were estimated to have reported last year on account of the ill-treated elephants getting violent. (ANI)

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