How much does a baby elephant cost in Kerala?

A baby elephant is no doubt an adorable sight to see, and if you’ve ever been curious about how much they cost in Kerala, India, you’ll be surprised to know that elephants are still being leased out for a range of prices. Although the buying and selling of elephants for money was stopped in 2003 following a central rule, they can still be leased out for various purposes, including temple ceremonies, weddings, and other cultural events. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to pay for a baby elephant in Kerala:

  • The cost of leasing a baby elephant varies depending on factors such as the age, gender, and health of the elephant, as well as the duration of the lease and the purpose for which it is being leased.
  • On average, the cost of leasing a baby elephant in Kerala ranges from Rs. 70 lakh to Rs. 1 crore, which is around $95,000 to $135,000 in US dollars.
  • It’s important to note that renting an elephant for any purpose requires a permit from the Kerala government’s Forest Department, which ensures that the elephant is treated humanely and meets specific welfare standards.
  • Additionally, elephants are classified as Schedule I animals under India’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which means that they are protected by law, and their trade and ownership are regulated by the government.
  • While the cost of leasing a baby elephant in Kerala may seem high, it’s important to consider that caring for elephants is a costly endeavor in terms of food, medical care, and shelter for such a large and social animal.

    In summary, while buying and selling of elephants for money is no longer permitted in Kerala, leasing out elephants is still a common practice for traditional ceremonies and cultural events. Expect to pay an average of Rs. 70 lakh to Rs. 1 crore for a baby elephant, but be sure to obtain the necessary permits and consider the cost of caring for these magnificent animals.

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  • Pro Tips:
    1. Research the market: Before buying a baby elephant in Kerala, research the current market conditions, the availability of elephants, and the current price range.

    2. Prepare for expenses: Owning an elephant can be an expensive affair. Prepare a budget for expenses such as food, shelter, veterinary care, and training.

    3. Consider legal requirements: Buying an elephant in Kerala requires a legal permit. Consult with local wildlife authorities regarding the necessary paperwork and permits required.

    4. Consider ethical implications: Elephants are intelligent and emotional animals. Consider the welfare of the elephant, consult with animal welfare organizations, and ensure that the dealer you are buying from is reputable and ethically sound.

    5. Be realistic: Owning a baby elephant can be demanding, time-consuming, and expensive. Make sure you are willing and able to provide the necessary care and attention, both physical and emotional, before making a purchase.

    Understanding the Elephant Trade in Kerala

    Kerala is well-known for its elephant population and many people from various parts of the world come to Kerala to admire these majestic animals. The history of the elephant trade in Kerala can be traced back to the ancient times when Tamil kings used elephants in war and for various other purposes. Over time, elephants became an important part of temple festivals, and many temples in Kerala own elephants. Apart from temples, there are also private elephant owners who use them for parading in festivals or renting them for movies or advertisements.

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    However, the elephant trade in Kerala has been fraught with controversies, especially with regards to the treatment of elephants, their cramped living conditions, and the cruelty they are often subjected to. Moreover, the commodification of these sentient beings, treating them as mere objects of trade, has raised ethical concerns.

    Factors Affecting Baby Elephant Prices

    The price of a baby elephant in Kerala can vary depending on several factors, such as:

    • Age: Generally, the younger the elephant, the higher its price as they can be trained easily.
    • Gender: Male elephants are usually more expensive than female elephants as they can be trained for purposes like logging, forest patrols, etc.
    • Health: A healthy elephant with proper documentation of vaccinations will fetch a higher price in the market.
    • Training: Baby elephants that have undergone formal training in the forest department or mahouts are usually priced higher as they are considered more obedient.

    Price Ranges for Baby Elephants in Kerala

    Although the exchange of elephants in exchange for money was stopped in 2003 following the enactment of a central rule, elephants still continue to be leased in Kerala for various purposes. The price range for baby elephants in Kerala can vary from Rs. 70 lakh to 1 crore. This high price is due to the high demand for elephants in the state, especially during the temple festival season.

    Legal Regulations on Elephant Trading

    As mentioned earlier, the exchange of elephants for money has been banned in Kerala for almost two decades now. However, the government still allows the leasing of elephants for various purposes like temple festivals, films, and advertisements, subject to strict guidelines in the Wildlife Protection Act. The act mandates that any person owning an elephant must have a valid ownership certificate from the Forest Department and should maintain a record of its movement, vaccination, and health. Any violation of the act can lead to imprisonment or fines.

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    Ethical Concerns on Elephant Transactions

    The trade of elephants, especially baby elephants, has raised ethical concerns among animal rights activists and wildlife conservationists. The separation of baby elephants from their mothers and the transportation of these animals over long distances in cramped conditions is considered inhumane. Moreover, keeping an elephant in captivity can lead to physical and mental problems, including malnutrition, joint problems, and elephant rage. This has led to a growing demand for stricter regulations and enforcement of ethical standards in the trade of elephants.

    Elephant Ownership and Care in Kerala

    In Kerala, elephant ownership is considered a symbol of prestige, and many affluent individuals and temples own elephants. However, the care of elephants is often neglected, with many owners failing to provide proper care, nutrition, and hygienic living conditions for these animals. This can lead to several health issues and the shortening of the elephant’s lifespan. While the government has taken steps to regulate the ownership of elephants, more needs to be done to ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect and care they deserve.

    In conclusion, while the trade of elephants in Kerala has a long history, it is important to remember that these animals are sentient beings and should not be treated as objects of trade. Stricter regulations and ethical standards need to be enforced to ensure that elephants are treated humanely and their care needs are met. It is also essential that elephant ownership and maintenance is monitored to ensure that these majestic creatures can live healthy and happy lives.