New Rules Regulate Captive Elephant Transfers and Transport in India

The Government of India has notified the Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024. These rules will regulate the transfer and transport of captive elephants within the country.

The rules provide that transfers and transport of elephants require separate applications to be submitted to designated forest department officials. These applications must be accompanied by veterinary health certificates.

Transfer Permission

  • The Chief Wildlife Warden of the relevant state(s) has the authority to grant or deny transfer permission.
  • Permission is contingent on:
    • Pre-existing ownership (except for offspring).
    • Inability of the current owner to properly care for the elephant.
    • Improved living conditions for the elephant at the new location.
    • Registration of the elephant’s genetic profile in a government database.

Transport Permits

  • Separate permits are required for transporting elephants.
  • Permits are issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden based on veterinary recommendations.

Transport Conditions

  • Elephants must be accompanied by a mahout and assistant.
  • A valid health certificate is mandatory.
  • Transport must occur after any necessary quarantine period.
  • Proper food, water, and rest are required during transport.
  • Tranquilizers may be used for nervous or aggressive elephants under veterinary guidance.

Transfer permissions are valid for three months from issuance. Additionally, transport permits are valid for one month with no extensions allowed.