Delhi’s last elephant missing with her mahout; Officials seem not to notice or care

Lakshmi has reportedly gone missing with her mahout when just less than a month was left before the deadline given by the Delhi High Court to rehabilitate her

NH photo by Pramod Pushkarna/ Representative Image
NH photo by Pramod Pushkarna/ Representative Image

NH Web Desk

Delhi’s last elephant, Lakshmi has reportedly gone missing with her mahout with less than one month left before the deadline decided by the court to rehabilitate her. Forest officials were unable to find her at Shakarpur in East Delhi when they went to seize the animal to rehabilitate it. Reports claim that the 41-year-old elephant has been missing since July 16.

Lakshmi was the last of the 6 elephants that had been kept in Delhi for tourist attraction generally and in fairs and were kept in pitiable conditions usually along the banks of river Yamuna. The court order aimed to provide the animals with a better life in their natural wildlife, removing them from the city limits which were anything but.

Since the High Court order, the other five elephants have been rehabilitated to different preservation units in Gujarat and Haryana. Lakshmi during this process was diagnosed with endotheliotropic herpesvirus, a dangerous and communicable disease that spreads to animals and humans alike.

Animal Rights activist Gauri Maulekhi who had filed the case blamed the forest officials’ incompetency for the situation being escalated. She refuted the claims that the animal could not be rehabilitated due to the disease saying that one other animal with a similar diagnosis had no trouble finding a home, so Lakshmi should have had no problems.

The Wildlife Protection Act prohibits any animal to be moved outside state limits without written permission and although this law is being broken, no one seems to be making an effort to find the creature, according to Maulekhi. Section 39 of the Act states that animals are property of the government and although this situation could be interpreted as theft of the government property, no one seems to be willing to take action.

Gauri Maulekhi refutes all the claims by the Forest Department and cites their lack of initiative as the main issue while other animal rights groups and activists continue to campaign for the rehabilitation of such mistreated creatures back to their natural habitats.

With inputs from India Times

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