Sauraha, March 15, 2014 – Animal Nepal and Elephant Aid International call for an investigation into the killing of a mahout by a safari elephant in Sauraha earlier this week. “The issue of deprivation and overworking of safari elephants needs to be addressed to prevent further injuries and deaths,” the organizations say.
Safari elephant Champa Kali killed mahout Moti Lal Chaudhary (50) on March 12 during public bathing. Chaudhary recently changed jobs, and it was his first time to take the elephant for bathing with tourists. Champa Kali is known as an aggressive elephant, who killed someone in India before being sold to its Nepali owner, Bishnu Hari Sapkota of Nature Safari Camp. She also has a history of Tuberculosis.
Animal Nepal and Elephant Aid International urge the authorities and elephant owners’ cooperative “Unity” to conduct an independent investigation. “Mahouts are being killed on average every two years. It is important to know what the factors are behind the killing, and to rectify conditions in such a way no mahout or tourist gets attacked in future,” say representatives Lucia de Vries and Carol Buckley.
According to De Vries and Buckley sickness, stress and fear are the main factors why domestic elephant attack. They argue that safaris conducted according to the international guidelines of ABTA and other major travel associations, will greatly improve the welfare of both mahouts and elephants.