A video of a lactating elephant being forced to haul a log that surfaced on Facebook a few days ago has sparked some outrage on social media. The minute-long clip, posted by Mondeep M Gogoi, shows a female elephant pulling a massive log across a road in Tinsukia district in Assam as her newborn calf waits on the other side of the road.
The mother elephant is visibly in pain and nearly buckles under the tremendous stress of hauling the log. This is allegedly in violation of the Project Elephant guidelines. The incident took place in a forest reserve in Upper Dehing, and the video was promptly forwarded by the Project Elephant director, RK Srivastava, to the Chief Wildlife warden, Bikash Brahma, for investigation.
Digboi Divisional forest officer, Bipul Borah, admitted that the practice of using elephants to pull logs has been continuing in Assam for ages. “Vehicles cannot ply beyond a point deep inside forests. Therefore, adult elephants are engaged for dragging logs, for a limited period of time, according to the law,” he said. Gogoi, who had uploaded this video on Facebook, said: “We should not inflict such pain on animals when there are so many modern techniques these days.”