The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of India has revoked recognition for 21 circuses in the country to keep wild animals. Only one circus is still allowed to, and it is currently under investigation for animal abuse - Ajanta Circus.
The CZA then went one step further with their decision: they have directed all the Chief Wildlife Wardens of each individual state to rehabilitate all the elephants rescued from these circuses.
The decision of the CZA comes from a campaign called End Circus Suffering, by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). More than 40 organizations and 100 activists from 16 states took part to report cruelty within circuses.
The campaign revealed a number of violations of multiple provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) and the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 (PARR) by the circuses. After reviewing the videos and photos submitted to them, the CZA made their decision.
The circuses that were de-recognised by CZA are Moonlight, Rhino, Great Golden, Gemini, Great Bombay, Great Rayman, Jamuna, Jumbo, Rajkamal, Rambo, Great Royal, Ajanta, Asiad, Empire, Famous, Kohinoor, Natraj, Olympic, Great Apollo, Great Gemini and Rajmahal.
Shortly after, in an unrelated decision, Botswana announced that starting from the end of this month, elephant rides will be banned in the country. Abu Camp is the only facility currently allowing the rides, and they have been ordered to stop their elephant safaris.
Abu Camp supported the ban and agreed to stop the rides. "The camp will continue to focus its program on respectful, less intrusive forms of elephant interaction and education … including its immersive walking-based experience."
Botswana has a history of taking protective decisions for their elephants. At this year’s CITES convention, the country voted to upgrade its Appendix II listing of elephants, to Appendix I, giving the species the highest level of protection. Botswana also refused to sell its ivory stockpile and has made it illegal to hunt on state land. The progressive decisions are mostly due to the country's Minister of Environment, TK Khama.
Lead Image - Benh LIEU SONG/Flickr Commons