Woman gets assaulted by irritated elephant in India


(MENAFN) In a disturbing incident, a Russian tourist suffered a broken foot after being picked up, swung around, and slammed to the ground by an elephant used for rides in Rajasthan, India, outside the popular Amer Fort earlier this month. The incident, captured on surveillance camera footage, has sparked outrage and renewed concerns about the treatment of elephants in the tourism industry. Animal rights group PETA uploaded the video on social media, alleging that the elephant's aggressive behavior was a result of "frustration" due to a "lifetime of enslavement."

This is not the first time the elephant, named Gouri, has exhibited aggressive behavior. In 2022, it attacked a shopkeeper near the fort, causing serious injuries. According to activists, Gouri has been subjected to tourist rides for over two decades, highlighting the long-term impact of such practices on the mental well-being of these majestic animals.

PETA has taken a proactive stance, writing to state officials, including the deputy chief minister, urging the immediate relocation of the elephant to a sanctuary where it can begin to recover from the alleged "lifetime of enslavement" and mental trauma. The organization has also renewed its longstanding call for the replacement of elephant rides with "eco-friendly motorized vehicles," aligning with recommendations from a government-sanctioned commission.

This incident echoes a broader issue in the region, where elephants used for tourism have faced mistreatment and psychological distress. In 2017, another elephant named Malti, also employed for carrying tourists at Amer Fort, was subjected to beating by handlers after a fight with another elephant, revealing the serious psychological toll on these animals.

Despite previous efforts, the use of elephants for rides continues, raising questions about the enforcement of regulations. The Rajasthan Forest Department reportedly retired 20 medically unfit elephants at Amer Fort in 2020, yet cases like Gouri's highlight the need for stricter measures and a reevaluation of the treatment of elephants in India's tourism industry. As activists and animal welfare organizations rally for change, the incident prompts a broader reflection on the ethical implications of using elephants for commercial purposes and the urgent need for reform in the tourism practices involving these magnificent creatures.

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