Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 14th, 2009
It is a governmental move like this that might signal a far-reaching impact across many fields, including the cryptozoological one, and into various countries’ policies as to how they view and study elephants.
All elephants living in Indian zoos and circuses will be moved to wildlife parks and game sanctuaries where the animals can graze more freely, officials said Friday [November 13, 2009].
The decision affects around 140 elephants in 26 zoos and 16 circuses in the country, said B.K. Gupta, an officer at India’s Central Zoo Authority.
The order followed complaints from animal rights activists about elephants that are kept in captivity and often chained for long hours, Gupta said.
The elephants currently living in zoos or circuses are to be moved to “elephant camps” run by the government’s forest department and located near protected areas and national parks. There they would be able to roam and graze freely, but “mahouts,” or traditional elephant trainers, would still
keep an eye on them.
Some elephant experts, however, were skeptical about moving the elephants to wildlife preserves, many of which are under pressure from encroaching human habitation.
“Special facilities have to be created, perhaps outside the wildlife sanctuaries. It may add to the pressures faced by natural habitats,” said Raman Sukumar, a professor of ecology at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Increasingly, research shows that elephants in the wild have longer life spans and better health and reproductive records than those in captivity, Sukumar said.
Zoo elephants often die prematurely and contract diseases or suffer obesity and arthritis more frequently than in their natural habitats, he said.
India has an estimated 28,000 wild elephants living in forest reserves and national parks, mainly in the southern and northeastern parts of the country. Another 3,500 elephants live in captivity, many of them in temples, or working in logging camps where they are used to lift timber. No decision has been made about them.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.