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India: Elephants

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 13418, tabled on 26 October 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that British citizens travelling to India are aware of the illegal practice of capturing and breaking young elephants in India for use in the tourism industry.

Answered on

3 November 2015

We are aware of reports that some elephants in use in the tourist industry in India have been captured as calves and then beaten and mistreated. This practice is illegal in India. Officials in London have discussed this issue with Save The Asian Elephant (STAE), an organisation that works to stop this cruel treatment.

The UK is committed to conserving Asian elephants and recognises the growing threats to their populations, particularly from poaching and cross-border, illegal trade in live animals to feed the demand by the tourist and entertainment industries. The UK has been working internationally through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in discussion with elephant range states, including India, to increase protection for Asian elephants. We secured agreement from the Indian government in 2014 for elephant range states to put in place measures to prevent illegal trade in live elephants.

It is not for the Government to make British citizens aware of this practice. However, we will continue to work together with the Indian authorities, as well as STAE and other non-governmental organisations, on protecting elephants.