Uttarakhand News

Uttarakhand high court bans joyrides, commercial use of elephants

Uttarakhand High Court on Friday imposed a ban on commercial use of elephants including joyrides and also asked the state to restrict number of commercial vehicles plying inside the forest areas of Corbett Tiger Reserve and Rajaji Tiger Reserve. The divisional bench comprising of justices Lok Pal Singh and Rajiv Sharma passed the order which even prohibits resort owners from offering elephant joyrides to their guests.

The high court ordered the chief wildlife warden to take possession of the elephants from their owners by issuing them proper receipts for their treatment, medical examination and proper upkeep within 24 hours. The court even underline that elephant captivity is in violation of Section 40 and 42 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1975.

The high court order came after an public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the gram panchayat of Dhikuli village which accuses resorts for keeping elephants in pathetic conditions. Even blind elephants were forced to serve clients. The petitioner also highlighted that there as no restriction on the number of vehicles plying in different forest zones of Ramnagar forest division in Nainital district.

For this, the court ordered that only 100 vehicles plying tourists shall be permitted to enter Sitabani, Bijrani and Dhela zones of Corbett besides Kalagarh zone and Rajaji National Park. No private vehicles should be allowed inside the forests as it was learnt that many tourists prefer their own vehicles. The court also directed Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to provide an assessment report on the carrying capacity of different forest zones around national parks.

Inputs from News18