Today’s Solutions: April 20, 2024

On February 25, a Bangladeshi court made a landmark decision prohibiting the adoption of wild elephants. Animal rights organizations have welcomed this judgment as a “landmark” step toward ending cruelty to Asian elephants.

Suspending licenses: a necessary step

Rights organizations celebrate the high court’s decision to revoke permits, effectively ending the torture endured by captive Asian elephants under the premise of training. Mr. Amit Das Gupta, Deputy Attorney General of Bangladesh, emphasized the extent of the order, noting, “The high court today suspended all licenses for the captive rearing of elephants.”

From majestic to critically endangered: Bangladesh’s elephant dilemma

Bangladesh was once a key habitat for Asian elephants, but their population has plummeted due to poaching and habitat destruction, resulting in their critically endangered status. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh has almost 100 captive Asian elephants, which is about half the number found in the wild.

Exploitation exposed: abuses in captivity

The forestry department previously awarded captive elephant licenses to logging and circus organizations. However, it was discovered that these wonderful creatures were being exploited, with behaviors such as dragging tree trunks, begging, and even participating in street extortion, which was a clear violation of the license restrictions.

End of hadani: a victory for animal activists

Animal rights groups, notably Mr. Rakibul Haque Emil, the head of Bangladesh’s People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Foundation, consider the suspension as a crucial win. Mr. Emil emphasized the cruel training, known as hadani, that these elephants receive: “In the name of training elephants, private licensees… brutally separate elephant calves from their mother, shackle them for months, and then torture them to teach tricks.”

The road ahead

The situation of caged elephants received attention in May 2023, when a baby elephant employed for street begging was cruelly killed by a train. Some elephants are painted and forced to perform feats on the streets for money. This ruling represents a glimpse of hope, maybe putting a stop to such terrible acts.

Mr. Emil responded to the court’s decision by confirming efforts to organize assistance for captive elephant rehabilitation. Drawing inspiration from successful initiatives in countries like Thailand and Nepal, he stated, “Several countries in Asia have found success in rehabilitating captive elephants. We shall do it here.”

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