PETA India Demands Sanctuary for Abused Elephants in Rajasthan

The tranquil ambiance of Amer Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in the heart of Rajasthan, was shattered on February 13, 2024, when an elephant named Gouri unleashed a violent attack on a female Russian tourist. Captured on CCTV, the distressing footage captured Gouri seizing the tourist in her trunk, thrashing her violently, and ultimately causing a severe leg injury. This incident marks another tragic chapter in Gouri’s history, who previously inflicted severe injuries on a male shopkeeper in October 2022.

Gouri’s aggression underscores the urgent need for intervention. For 16 months, PETA India has been tirelessly advocating for Gouri’s retirement from tourist rides and her relocation to a sanctuary, where she could heal from the mental trauma of lifelong enslavement. Shockingly, Gouri is kept in Rajasthan illegally, without an ownership certificate, as revealed in a 2018 report by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

In response to the latest attack, PETA India has issued an urgent plea to Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Art and Culture, Diya Kumari, urging for Gouri’s rehabilitation and the replacement of elephant rides with eco-friendly motorized vehicles. This call aligns with the recommendations of a committee formed by the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as per an order of the Supreme Court of India.

Sadly, Gouri is not the only elephant suffering in captivity at Amer Fort. Another elephant, Malti, known as “no 44,” has also endured a history of abuse and exploitation. Despite recommendations for her rehabilitation by a team of veterinarians appointed by the Supreme Court of India, Malti remains in captivity, posing risks to tourists. PETA India has long campaigned for Malti’s transfer to a sanctuary, emphasizing her deteriorating physical and mental health.

The plight of Gouri and Malti sheds light on the dark reality of elephant tourism in Rajasthan. Elephants used for rides endure unimaginable cruelty, controlled through pain and fear, and subjected to confinement and exploitation. The consequences of such mistreatment manifest in violent outbursts, endangering both humans and animals.

As calls for action intensify, it’s imperative for authorities to prioritize the well-being of these magnificent creatures. Rehabilitating Gouri and Malti and banning elephant rides are crucial steps towards fostering sustainable and ethical tourism practices in Rajasthan. Together, let us raise our voices to ensure that Gouri, Malti, and all captive elephants are granted the sanctuary and respect they rightfully deserve.