Sri Lanka Prohibits 'Drunk Driving' On Elephants, Bans Putting Baby Elephants To Work

Sri Lanka Prohibits 'Drunk Driving' On Elephants, Bans Putting Baby Elephants To Work

The notice stating the new regulations for elephants in the country was released by State Minister of Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayaka.

Sri Lanka has banned handlers from making elephants below the age of two work. Per the wide-ranging new regulations, which were released on Thursday, baby elephants are required to be kept with their mothers. In addition to this, it also stated that elephant handlers or mahouts are not allowed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while working with the animals. "The person who owns or has the custody of such elephants shall ensure that the mahout (rider) is not consuming any liquor or any harmful drug while employed," it read according to INSIDER

The notice stating the new regulations for elephants in the country, which was released by State Minister of Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayaka, instructed that every domesticated elephant should have a biometric identity card along with a photograph of the mammal and its DNA details. In Sri Lanka, elephants are held in high regard, and per the World Wildlife Fund, killing the giant creature is punishable by death there. Elephants are used for religious processions, logging, and attracting tourists. But the new laws prohibit elephants from working more than four hours and completely during the night. 



The majestic mammals are also entitled to at least two-and-a-half hours of bathing time every day as they use mud baths to cool themselves. Despite being highly revered, elephants are incredibly abused especially by the tourism sector. Of course, the country did not overlook this as it said only up to four people can ride on an elephant at one time. The notice also added that the tourist must be seated on a well-padded saddle to avoid any infliction of pain to the creature. Captive elephants are required to undergo mandatory health checkups every six months.

Moreover, they are not allowed to part take in any films unless it's a government production, but even then, it has to be carried out under the strict supervision of a veterinarian. Per AFP, people who flout these rules could face a three-year jail sentence and lose the custody of their elephants, which will automatically go under the state's care. In Sri Lanka owning an elephant is seen as a status symbol and this has resulted in their deplorable state. In 2019 wildlife experts revealed that dozens of calves were separated from their herds over a period of 10 years and sold to the wealthy for about $125,000 each, according to the South China Morning Post



There are an estimated 7,500 wild elephants in Sri Lanka, reports to BBC. In 2019, a record number of 361 elephants died and environmentalists from the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform, Sajeewa Chamikara, said 85% of these deaths may have been caused by human activity. The country's fast-growing holiday-destination status means more suffering for the captive elephants, who are worked to their bone. According to PETA, these poor creatures are chained tightly and kept isolated from other elephants, despite them living in herds while living in the wild.



They are heartbreakingly forced to walk up and down busy roads in the sweltering heat-carrying tourists until they cannot anymore owning to exhaustion. Tourists sit on a metal seat called howdah, which is stripped to the animal's delicate back. When the weight of the howdah, tourists, and mahouts is placed on an elephant's back, a sharp, bony protrusion extending upwards towards their spine could end up causing painful spinal damage, which is often permanent. Mahouts also use a bullhook, which is a spear-like instrument with a sharp hook, to strike and terribly injure the helpless animals.