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Illegal elephant trade: Activists urge NTNC to look after rescued animals

A captive elephant Kajalkali has been rescued from the illegal trade but is living a miserable life in Chitwan in June 2022. Photo: Association Moey
A captive elephant Kajalkali has been rescued from the illegal trade but is living a miserable life in Chitwan in June 2022. Photo: Association Moey

Kathmandu, June 17

An elephant’s future in Chitwan is in limbo after its owner refused to take care of it following a botched sale of the animal in India.

Following the case, animal rights activists have called on the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) to look after such cases and provide life to helpless animals.

In the recent case, Kajalkali was sold to an Indian citizen. But since the government has banned the illegal cross-border sale of Nepal’s captive elephants, the animal and the person taking it to India were sent back by the police twice.

The animal’s old owner wants nothing to do with the elephant while her new owner cannot do anything as he says he has lost his money. This has left the animal in an undefined space, between the past and present government regulations.

Activists want the government and the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) to look after the elephant, but NTNC says it cannot do anything.

“Kajalkali needs urgent support, a healthy environment and daily veterinary care, which only NTNC professional team can provide,” Association Moey founder and activist Lena Quenard says.

“We have been taking care of the elephant as we’ve sent our doctor to look after the elephant and take care of her. But that’s about it,” says Babu Ram Lamichhane, the chief of NTNC Biodiversity Conservation Centre in Chitwan.

He says the responsibility to take care of the animal should be that of the owner since the owner earnt a lot from it.

“Ideally, it should be his job, but if he doesn’t, others should step up because the government just doesn’t have the budget to take care of the elephant,” says Lamichhane.

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