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Man served notice for making elephants beg in Mumbai

Animal Welfare Board of India has sent a notice to Shabhashankar Pandey for violating the ban on elephants in the city; he is yet to respond to the warning

Taking cognisance of the reports published by MiD DAY about a mahout using an elephant to beg within the city limits, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has sent a notice to Shabhashankar Pandey the owner of the elephants.

Lakshmi, the elephant, has been seen within the city limits. In January, Lakshmi was seen being used for a religious procession in Powai. File pic
Lakshmi, the elephant, has been seen within the city limits. In January, Lakshmi was seen being used for a religious procession in Powai. File pic

MiD DAY had reported how Pandey, who owns two elephants Rupa and Lakshmi was using them to beg within the municipal limits of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, despite the entry of elephants being banned inside the city (‘Forest department to get mahout’s licence cancelled’, January 24 and ‘Despite ban, elephant found begging near Dahisar station’, January 7).

MiD DAY’s report on January 7
MiD DAY’s report on January 7

Acting on a complaint filed by the NGO Plant & Animals Welfare Society (PAWS)- Mumbai, officials from the AWBI have sent a notice to the elephant owner a week ago, said a source from the Mumbai Territorial Range of the Thane Forest department. However, the owner is yet to respond to the notice.

Range Forest Officer Anil Todarmal said, “We have already registered a complaint against the owner for bringing the elephants into Mumbai city limits. We are investigating into the matter and are looking for the spot where the elephant has been kept.”

In the past, Pandey also attacked Sunish Subramanian Kunju, an animal activist, when Kunju objected to the animal being used during a religious procession in Powai ('Activist attacked for objecting to use of elephant at religious event,' January 15).

The law
A circular passed on October 28, 2013 by the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests states that an elephant is listed in S. No-2 in Schedule-1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act 2002. The circular reads: ‘Elephants are often brought within the city limits of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.

These elephants are brought into the city to give joy rides, beg, entertain guests at weddings, act in serials and movies, bless and entertain guests at functions in temples and political rallies. All of these activities carried out by elephants are in contravention with the Wildlife Protection Act.’

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