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  Activists seek to free elephant from owner

Activists seek to free elephant from owner

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Oct 29, 2016, 1:10 am IST
Updated : Oct 29, 2016, 1:10 am IST

After Rupa, an elephant belonging to Sabha Shankar Pandey, passed away last week at Goregaon’s Film City where she had been brought for a photo shoot, experts have raised concern about the health and

Rupa was found to have stones in her kidney.
 Rupa was found to have stones in her kidney.

After Rupa, an elephant belonging to Sabha Shankar Pandey, passed away last week at Goregaon’s Film City where she had been brought for a photo shoot, experts have raised concern about the health and care of Lakshmi, Pandey’s other elephant.

In the autopsy after Rupa’s death, she was found to have stones in her kidney. However, despite her sudden collapse at Film City and subsequent demise, Pandey maintained that the elephant was completely fit before being taken for the shoot. Both Rupa and Lakshmi hail from Bihar and in 2014, a team of experts appointed by the Thane forest department had declared that Pandey was not taking proper care of his elephants and was not keeping them in the best of conditions. However, the same information was passed on to the Bihar government with no conclusion drawn on the matter yet.

 

“Had the letter containing the experts’ opinion had been forwarded through proper channel, we would not have lost Rupa today,” alleged Sunish Subramanian, founder, PAWS, Mumbai.

Lakshmi is the only elephant in the city in possession of a private owner, namely Pandey as otherwise, only the Byculla Zoo is home to elephants in Mumbai. In order to ensure that Lakshmi does not go through the same hardships, experts have raised questions and will approach Thane forest department in order to cancel Pandey’s ownership registration. Since both Rupa and Lakshmi were brought from Bihar, an official letter from a competent authority will have to be sent to the Bihar government to cancel Pandey’s ownership. “To save the only elephant in this city, this is an essential step we must take,” said Pawan Sharma, Founder, Resqink Association of Wildlife Welfare.