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                     ELEPHANT AND TOURISM
   Prof. Dr. Jacob V. Cheeran

Elephant is the most attractive animal in the world. In
spite of, elephant not being in anyway, the most beautiful
animal or bird in the world. Why? The answer is simple.
To be attractive is more to be responsive than being
beautiful. That is what elephant is and hence the most
attractive and even most admired animal in the world.
The world’s largest terrestrial animal deserves it too.

Elephant is a big crowd puller in institutions like zoos,
temples. Many elephant range countries attracts tourists
because of elephant. Interestingly it is worth knowing
that zoo in Alaska has an elephant and a public interest
petition wanted the animal to be removed to a place,
which is having a more agreeable climate for elephant.
But zoo fought the case and won! They promised to
provide a treadmill for the animal during the winter. But
their attempt to make the elephant to tread on the
treadmill was a dismal failure.

Recently Sydney and Melbourne zoos wanted to get
some elephant calves to Australia from Thailand under
the guise of conservation and it was severely fought
against. In this connection the author had to go to
Thailand and Australia to testify but the problem is not
yet resolved completely.

Why this introduction? It is only to make the average
elephant owner about the potential of captive elephants
and to make use of elephant to attract tourists. I am sure
that this will give the elephant much more humane and
enjoyable living and better income for the elephant
owner. This is what happened in a large scale in
Thailand. The country banned forest tree felling and all
of a sudden nearly 2000 elephants became
unemployed. Many in Kerala may not know the
unemployment problem of elephants in Assam, which are
nearly 1500. This is true with many other northeastern
states, hence a large-scale sale of elephants from those
states to Kerala. This is true with Andaman Nicobar
islands too.

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