The Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust (RKTEWT), an organisation based in Moti Khavdi village in Jamnagar, Gujarat, and supported by Reliance Industries Limited, will soon welcome ten elephants belonging to private owners in Arunachal Pradesh.
With this, the number of elephants at the centre will cross 150. The 10 elephants includes seven males and three females
The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden (CWLW) of Arunachal Pradesh, RK Singh, approved the transport of the elephants after getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from his Gujarat counterpart Shyamal Tikadar.
The RKTEWT facility is spread over 600 acres in the RIL’s Moti Khavdi co-mplex where it has an oil refinery.
“The chief wildlife warden of Arunachal Pradesh wrote to us about the applications submitted by private owners wanting to send their elephants to the facility in Jamnagar. Accordingly, we verified if the Jamnagar facility was willing to accept them… Having found the arrangements satisfactory, we granted permission, allowing the entry of the 10 Arunachal Pradesh elephants into Gujarat,” said Tikadar.
The RKTEWT, set up in 2013-’14, has been receiving elephants from across the country for their life-long care and upkeep. The RIL is also in the process of developing a mega private zoo near its refinery complex in Moti Khavdi village.
The RKTEWT added that their elephants are not for the purpose of exhibition. “The Elephants at the Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust are not a part of any zoo, circus, religious activity, entertainment or display. They are here to rest and have a happy life. We only do their seva and provide lifelong care,” the spokesperson said.
Gujarat has no population of wild elephants even though organisations such as the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad do own elephants. However, the Moti Khavdi facility is the only facility in the state to have 150 elephants at a single location.
The Trust has 12 fulltime veterinarians, 15 fulltime para-veterinarians and four Ayurvedic practitioners specialising in elephant care. It also has about 300 mahouts, 35 caretakers, and trained staff to care for the elephants. It also has five consulting veterinarians from Thailand, one each from Spain and South Africa, and 12 biologists studying elephant behaviour and assisting in stress reduction.
Every elephant is provided 200 kilograms of fodder every day, including fruits and plant material as well feed-concentrate prepared by 10 cooks. The Trust also has established a state-of-the-art elephant hospital.