The plight of Samrat Gaj, a baby elephant at Sapana Village Lodge in Sauraha, Chitwan, draws the attention to the suffering of elephants born into the safari tourism industry in Nepal. Their abuse includes chaining, separation from the mother, cruel training, beatings and premature labour.
Born as a healthy calf on January 6, 2014, to mother Srijana Kali, Samrat Gaj was everyone’s darling at first. Successful births are rare among safari elephants, and Samrat seemed the happy exception. To enable the owner, Dhruba Giri, to unchain mother Srijana Kali and her calf, animal welfare organisations Himalayan Animal Trust and Animal Nepal supported with funds to build a chain free corral. The conditions were that the baby would be trained humanely, not work before the age of 13, and that the corral would be maintained.
When mother and baby were unchained and enabled to graze, scratch, play and sleep out in the open, and a humane trainer started his job, Samrat Gaj seemed to be one of the few elephants in captivity enjoying a happy childhood.
But that was about to change.
By 2016 the corral had fallen in disrepair and got dismantled to make space for more guest rooms. Srijana Kali was back on chains. In December 2016 owner Giri felt that the 2 year old baby elephant had to be disciplined. Samrat Gaj was separated from his mother, hobbled, and trained at the government’s Elephant Breeding Centre for two weeks using fear based and spirit breaking techniques including forced used of sleep deprivation, energy drinks, loud noises, sticks and ankushes.
Samrat Gaj turned 3 in January 2017 and is already chained and standing apart from his mother. With the lack of commitment to unchaining, emotional care and humane training by his owner, Samrat Gaj’ future is an insecure one.
Do you want to speak out for baby elephants such as Samrat Gaj?
This is what you can do:
Sign this petition to stop cruel training of Samrat Gaj and other baby elephants
Thank you for NOT RIDING elephants and for speaking out for the suffering baby elephants in the tourism industry.