Kerala's Captive Elephants get 'Registration Numbers'

Captive elephants in Kerala are being given 'registration numbers' -
in the form of a microchip device planted under the skin - in order to
put an end to frauds committed by unscrupulous owners.

"Microchip is one centimetre in length and has a diameter
comparable to that of a grain of rice. This is encased in a glass
pellet and has a unique code number," veteran elephant expert
Jacob Cheeran told IANS.

It is inserted under the skin behind the left ear of the elephant. The
microchip, along with a reading device that can read the number
from a distance, will identify the animal in all circumstances.

One of the benefits of the unique identity number is that captive-born
elephants can be exported only if they have a chip to prove its
identity, Dr. Cheeran said.

"Sometimes elephant owners use the transportation certificate
meant for one elephant to move several more from one place to
another. There have been instances of frauds committed on
insurance companies. With the chip technology now in place, such
malpractices can be prevented," he said.

The Forest Department, entrusted with the job of the implanting
microchips, has already begun the drive.

"We expect to finish the job in two months. We have prepared a
schedule for each district," said Kerala Forest Minister Binoy
Viswam.

"We began with Kollam district and the response there was not
bad," the minister added.

An estimated 800-odd captive elephants in the state will be covered
under the drive.
                                                                    October 16, 2006: IANS
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