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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 17:16 GMT
Indian elephants in 'holiday torture'
By Sampath Kumar
BBC correspondent in Madras

A move to transport elephants in India to a 'holiday camp' has hit problems after complaints the animals suffered torture and abuse.

Indian elephant
There has been an increase in elephants attacking people
The elephants apparently refused to board a truck to take them away, despite a week's training, after which they were forcibly herded on to the vehicle.

They were to be taken to a camp in the hill resort of Mudumalai in southern India to rest and recuperate.

Two southern Indian states have introduced annual holidays for working elephants.

More than 80 elephants, belonging to various temples and individual owners, were expected to be sent to the holiday camp.

There, in natural surroundings, they were to be fed nutritious food and provided health care by the government.

Authorities say more than 60 elephants are now in the camp.

The idea of a holiday camp was prompted by the recommendation of a team that studied the upkeep of elephants in Kerala, which employs hundreds of elephants for temple festivals.

Concern for the animals has been in focus following increasing attacks by these elephants on humans.

At least four people have been killed in such attacks in Kerala in recent months.

Fatigue and ill-treatment of the elephants are believed to be the reason for the elephants going berserk.


SEE ALSO:
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16 Nov 03  |  South Asia
Delhi's cure for jumbo traffic problem
27 Mar 03  |  South Asia
India reflects on a hefty problem
27 Feb 03  |  South Asia
Drunk elephants kill six people
17 Dec 02  |  South Asia
In pictures: Indian elephant festival
14 Jan 03  |  South Asia


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