In traditional punishment and reward training, the elephants are forcefully separated at a young age from their mother. During the training, in which fire, crackers, tobacco and loud noises are used, the calves are left injured and traumatised. Peta India and Animal Welfare Network Nepal in 2011 conducted a research into the cruel training of elephant calves. Read the full report here.
WWF Nepal together with overseas experts has introduced humane training methods but the number of calves trained with positive reinforcement methods are few. The ones trained are still young and will only start work when they are 7-9 years old.