Tamil Nadu: Elephant rearing business hit hard by COVID-19 lockdown

Madurai (Tamil Nadu) [India], July 31 (ANI): With the COVID-induced lockdown across the country, the elephant rearing business has been hit hard. A fourth-generation elephant caretaker from Tamil Nadu's Madurai said that the pandemic had brought a lot of hardship due to the decrease in demand for elephants for weddings and temple performances.

"My family has been raising elephants for four generations and this is the first time we have faced such hardship. We are currently raising two elephants. They are my only source of income. Ever since the lockdown was announced four months ago, there has been a sharp decline in the demand for these elephants since celebrations and religious gatherings are not permitted," Rangan, the 60-year-old elephant caretaker told ANI.

"We used to raise elephants in the Tallakulam area but due to lack of space, we bought a plot of land in the Kadachanendhal suburb about 20 kilometre away. Before the pandemic, my elephants were hired for temple performances, wedding ceremonies, groom invitations and government ceremonies. Now we don't have any income to feed the elephants. I have been depending on my son's income to feed the two animals for the last four months," he said.

He further said, "Elephant breeding has been in decline for the last 20 years. The state government should provide free food for elephants like they do in Kerala as this is a huge expense and has become a burden during this pandemic." (ANI)

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