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Elephant Abuse in Kerala, India

Updated on August 29, 2013

Problems with Temple Elephants in Kerala, India


I first heard about the temple elephants in Kerala from reading about it in one of the hubs on Hubpages. I thought that it looked like a nice idea. Then I thought later about what was happening there. It began to remind me of what was and is happening now at the circus in the United States.

People in the US that are worried about the elephants treatment have been protesting before at the Ringling Brothers Circus. There were reports of abuse and they had proof. They finally got a decision about it at the court. The circus was given a large fine.

I looked it all up on the Internet and what I was afraid of was true. There have been reports and articles about elephants running and charging into the crowds at the festivals that could not take it any longer. They are overworked and cannot take it any longer. After years of abuse they begin to show that they are having problems. There are reports of animal abuse and hitting from the trainers. It is a similar problem at the circuses where some elephants can take it no longer and make a run for it. They can have the ability to hurt many people when they do that.

Of course, the owners and trainers try to deny that there is a big problem. Part of the reason seems to be that there is money to be made with taking them to the festivals. This has been denied but I have looked at the numbers that they have for the money. There are laws that have been made to protect the elephants that are broken in the work at the festivals.

Kerala Temple Elephants

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Elephant at the Festival

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Elephant Held for Murder in 2013


The elephant that is named the tallest in Kerala has actually been held for murder now. It was taken to be held in March, 2013 and was then released. It is going to be looked at later by the court for them to make a decision about what to do in the case.

This elephant had lost control at the festival and run into people. Three women were crushed. There were 20 people that were injured. It is not exactly that the elephant is trying to hurt them. The elephant is a large animal and it wants to get away and be free. This is after all the abuse that it has taken from the trainers.

The animals are supposed to be worked for only six hours a day. But they are worked all day instead usually at the festivals. They can be worked from dawn to dusk as they say. The elephants are also hit while they are being told what to do.

This has happened before in Kerala. There have been records of the elephants going amok and running into the crowds. It leaves some people killed and others injured in the crowd.

Wild Elephants in Kerala, India

Gavi elephants
Gavi elephants | Source

Elephant Activists


There are certain laws there that have been made to protect wild animals in the area. The laws are ignored often. The elephants at one ceremony were made to salute the officials there. They are not supposed to do that with the elephants.

Another thing they are not supposed to do is to have them push heavy carts with their foreheads. It puts a lot of stress on them. They still had them doing that with very heavy carts to push.

They are put to work all day. There is only supposed to be a six hour day for tops for the elephants.

Right now they are not allowed to get anymore wild elephants to tame. There is supposed to be a stop to that. But there is still some illegal trade in the elephants.

The elephants are not supposed to be beaten of course. But still they are. It is difficult for the trainers or mahouts to get them to do what they want them to do. So without the time or patience they resort to hitting the elephants. There are also reports of abuse of them with hooks.

The elephant activists have attempted to have captive elephants banned from the temple festivities, but to no avail.

Elephant Attacks at the Temple

Chained Elephant in Kerala

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Elephant Attacks and Deaths in Kerala


Some say that the idea of Kerala being an elephant loving place is a big lie. It has been going on for a long time. The elephants are abused and they strike out as best they can. People can get killed or hurt by the elephants running rampant in the crowd. The elephants themselves can get hurt in different accidents. The police in India though, they say, do not shoot the elephants.

In the last twelve years 212 people have died in the attacks from elephants. Most of them were the trainers. There have been 1000 elephants dead due to torture it is being called.

In 2012 62 people were injured when one of the elephants went out of control at a festival.

The elephants are overworked. They say that they have dehydration and are not treated for it. It makes it impossible for them to work.



Elephant with Chain

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Hindu God Ganesh

Elephant faced God
Elephant faced God | Source

The Raja's Elephants in Kelara

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Kerala Temple Elephants Poll

Do you think the elephants should be used as temple elephants or logging?

See results

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