Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Speaking Of "protected contact....."

HYDERABAD: Shedding three years of chained and rogue existence, Vijay is out for a stroll among visitors at Nehru Zoological Park these days. The rogue elephant which was chained and confined to a rather solitary existence after it went berserk, has finally fallen in line and not only it is taking commands but also moving around freely and comfortably.

It took two mahouts who have been brought in from the Top Slip elephant camp of Tamil Nadu to tame the elephant and make it behave normal. “I was moved by the plight of the animal and there were several representations from animal lovers too. So, we sought the assistance of mahouts who worked for last one month on the elephant,” says zoo director K. Bhoopal Reddy.


It was almost three years back when Vijay went violent and out of control and started damaging enclosure and surrounding structures. None was injured as it was night time and no visitors were around.

The elephant was immediately tranquilised and kept in fetters since then which left some injuries on the legs. After it went rogue, Vijay forgot commands and the habit of obeying them. “Slowly, it was made to recollect the commands and now behaves like any other tamed one in the zoo,” he says.

Initially, the elephant was allowed to take a stroll in the mornings and evenings when there were no visitors and also on two Mondays when the zoo was closed for holiday. Now, it obeys commands to kneel, salute and move and halt and after careful watch, the authorities started bringing it out from the enclosure amid the visitors.

The zoo staff which was scared to even move in its proximity given the violent behaviour, have now started treating it like other elephants.

“It is even allowing the mahout to sit on it and moving comfortably among crowds. Its shackles are gone and it is free now,” Mr. Reddy informs.

'I wonder how many zoology/biology degree's the two mahouts from the Top Slip elephant camp have? Do you now understand why AZA has mandated "protected contact" for all it's member zoo's. It had nothing to do with right or wrong, safe or unsafe. It had everything to do with no qualified individuals to handle them. When they found themselves suddenly in "the elephants space" whacking them upside the head with a degree was ineffective and "accident's" occurred more frequently.'


Jim A. said...

You're correct about this. We had a few incidents in STL and I'd be call on to investigate and offer an opinion. We had some people who were intuitively good elephant handling people. Most had no experience before coming to the Zoo and didn't get out to learn from, or even watch other elephant trainers. They'd over estimated some elephant abilities and under estimated others. What they had was the elephant's confidence that they'd both survive the challenge. Unfortunately, some keepers because of lack of knowledge, confidence, or a combination didn't have the animal trust - and the elephant "asked them to leave" in their special way. The easiest solution for the Zoo, protected contact. The less talented keepers still won't get the animals to work but at least they won't be filling out insurance forms.

Wade G. Burck said...

Of course I am correct about this. When have I ever not been correct, Pal!!!! :) I just wish that there were honest response's to why they are going to pc, instead of "insinuating" that it is so that the devil's tool, the evil bull hook will no longer be needed to do it's dastardly deed's. Or that it is better for the elephants, when they know damn well it isn't. When they falsely "validate" the activist's claims, they gain a slight bit of breathing room, only to have the next ill informed, idiotic shit storm come stinking up the world of captive animals. The folks in Private Idaho, the "perfect world people," will keep trying to create what they perceive is the perfect world. Don't think for a minute that they are packing up their bag of lie's and half truths and going home, now that the elephants are pc.

"asked them to leave." I like that. :) Except I think you are being to kind. It always looked more like a demand then a request to me. There is usually no tact or compassion involved when a big old elephant foot is up your ass.


Jim Z said...

Gypsy wished she could spend eternity w/ you...

Wade G. Burck said...

Good, then that piece of work can make me a new elephant hook. It's good they have her dumped out in the south pasture. If they had kept her up close to the barn they would have called by now and demanded that we take her back. :) I currently have a tiger reminds me a lot of old Gyp. Today when I sent her out, she went half way down the chute, turned around and came back into the arena, walked up to me and took a whip out of my hand.....WTF!!!! Like I'm Rodney Dangerfield or something!!!!!