Survey of Elephants in Captivity

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has submitted the affidavit with the findings of the first Survey of Elephants in Captivity to the Supreme Court.

Findings of the Survey

The Survey was undertaken after the order of the Supreme Court which had asked the Union Government to identify elephants in captivity and whether their owners have an ownership certificate while hearing a writ petition filed by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. The findings of the Survey are:

  • There are 2,454 elephants in captivity across the country of which 560 are in possession with forest departments and 1,687 with private individuals.
  • 664 of the total captive elephants in the country are without ownership certificate while there are 85 in zoos, 26 in circuses and 96 in temples.
  • 58 per cent of all captive elephants is concentrated in two states: 905 in Assam and 518 in Kerala.
  • The affidavit also points at some discrepancies in data especially from the State of Bihar.

The Survey was ordered after the Animal Welfare Board of India failed to produce data on the number of elephants held captive.

Animal Welfare Board of India

The Animal Welfare Board of India was established under the Provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 to oversee the implementation of the animal welfare laws in the country.
The Board consists of 28 Members including 6 MPs (4 from Lok Sabha and 2 from Rajya Sabha). Previously based in Chennai, it is now headquartered at Ballabhgarh in Haryana.




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