Are elephant rides at Amber Fort safe for tourists?
Another incident of a jumbo going berserk reported at Amber
Jaipur: The incident of an elephant going berserk at Amber Fort on Thursday has once again exposed how unsafe jumbo rides are for the tourists. Several incidents where tourists either were hurt or had a narrow escape have been reported in the recent past. The authorities promise to take action after every such incident, but nothing seems to be happening on the ground.
Tourists are taken on elephant rides to Amber fort. These rides are very popular particularly among foreign nationals.
On Thursday, elephant number – 70, known as Ramu, went berserk. The same elephant reportedly has a history of aggressive behaviour during jumbo rides. Sources said that the jumbo was banned from rides, but mahout still used the animal for the same.
On Thursday, Ramu became uncontrollable after a ride. When mahouts failed to control him they informed the forest department officials. A team of veterinary doctors rushed to the spot. They had to tranquilize the elephant.
Officials said that they have begun an investigation into the matter. Ramu’s mahout said the elephant became uncontrollable after a ride. No tourist was hurt, he claimed.
The incidents of elephants showing aggressive behaviour are reported particularly during summers when these animals are unable to bear scorching heat.
In 2014, a male elephant went berserk and killed its mahout in Amber area’s Natata village when he was taking the animal to a shady place for relief from the scorching sun.
The 22-year-old victim was on the elephant’s back when it flung its trunk throwing him near a wall on the ground. The elephant incidentally hit the wall also causing it to fall on the victim’s body. He was rushed to SMS Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment. Mahouts in Amber were shocked and grieved over the incident.
The elephants at Amber Fort in Jaipur show multiple health problems including foot injuries, damaged eyes and general fatigue. It leads to aggressive behaviour.
Authorities have repeatedly promised that they were planning to ban elephant rides at Amber Fort completely, but no action has been taken in this regard. Animal rights activists have protested against brutal conditions under which these elephants are kept.