New Delhi, Mar 4 (EFE).- A Hindu temple in southern India has replaced a real elephant with a mechanic one for carrying out rituals in an attempt to stop the ill-treatment and poaching of the animal, considered sacred in Hinduism.
The novel initiative, taken up by a Hindu temple in the state of Kerala, was launched through a donation by nonprofit People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has launched an aggressive campaign in India to protect elephants.
The robotic elephant “will aid in the safe and cruelty-free conduct of temple ceremonies, thereby supporting real elephant rehabilitation and life in forests and putting an end to the horror of captivity for them,” PETA’s communications office told EFE.
Around 11-feet (3.35 meter) high and weighing 800 kilograms, the robot-elephant, named Irinjadappilly Raman, is capable of carrying up to five people, with its movement being controlled by a switch.
PETA said it hoped that the initiative would spread to other states of India and help stop the age-old use of pachyderms in Hindu rituals, including carrying idols of Hindu deities during processions and ceremonies. The animals are often trained for these practices through abuse.
The majority of India’s wild elephants are concentrated in the South, from where they are often captured and illegally transported to other regions.
There have been many cases of the animals dying after being chained for long periods without water or medical attention.
Recently, an animal-rights group urged state authorities to launch an investigation into the frequent deaths of elephants.
The Center for Research on Animal Rights registered the deaths of 138 captive elephants between 2018 and 2022 just in Kerala. EFE