Animal rights activists are seeking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention after the Kerala forest department allowed actor Jayaram to keep the tusks of his pet elephant that died two years ago.
The activists from Heritage Animal Task Force also cited how more than a ton of ivory was crushed in New York last month to drive home the point of discouraging possession of tusks.
In 2010, India declared the elephant as a national heritage animal.
As reported by PTI and published by Business Standard:
According to HATF, rules state that only a person who acquired ownership of the animal through inheritance has the right to keep the tusks. Jayaram acquired the tusker and didn’t inherit the animal, they argued.
“But the actor does not have any ancestral right on this elephant which he had bought from a person in Manissery in Palakkad district years ago,” V K Venkitachalam, Secretary of the Task Force, told PTI.
“The applicant who applies for such ownership certificate must give a self declaration that he got possession of such animal or animal portions by inheritance. But Jayaram has not obtained possession of any elephant by inheritance,” he said.
“Quoting reports, he said countries like United States had decided to crush the elephant tusks, having weight of at least one tonne, with an aim to end the international black marketing of elephant tusks.
“But in Kerala the state Forest Minister himself orders his top officials to allow a film star to keep a pair of elephant tusks on condition that the actor must not hand over or sell them to others,” he said.
“Citing these issues, the Task Force today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chairman of the National Board for Wildlife, seeking his urgent intervention in the issue.”