After a group of tourists visiting Amer Fort near Jaipur witnessed and documented a group of men attacking an elephant called Malti (“ride no 44”), who was trying to escape the misery of carrying tourists uphill in extreme heat, one woman filed a cruelty complaint with PETA India. The tourists watched in horror as eight men, including the mahout, beat the suffering elephant with sticks for up to 10 minutes after recapturing the animal.
Another elephant named Gouri (“ride no 86”), who severely injured a male shopkeeper in Amer in October 2022, went on to attack a female Russian tourist on 13 February 2024 in the main courtyard of Amer Fort. For 16 months, PETA India has been appealing to Rajasthan’s Archaeology and Museums Department to stop using Gouri for rides and to send her to a sanctuary, where she could begin to recover from the mental trauma of a lifetime of enslavement.
Elephants used for rides are controlled through pain and fear and chained when not in use, so the frustration of being treated this badly can and does cause some of these sensitive animals to run amok or lash out. When elephants attack humans, beatings and other punishments typically follow, which only make the animals more frustrated and upset.
The nightmare of captivity never ends for elephants used for rides: mahouts routinely control them using wooden sticks with nail points fixed to one end, chains, and ankuses (in violation of the directives of the Rajasthan High Court) and even pierce their sensitive ears and drill holes in their tusks to pull them around. In nature, elephants can walk vast distances foraging for food, but captive elephants near Jaipur are tied or constantly chained when not in use and forced to stand on concrete floors, which causes painful foot problems. Even elephants who tested positive for tuberculosis or who are visually impaired or injured have been forced to carry people under the blazing sun.
A committee constituted by the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recommended that elephant rides at Amer Fort be “phase[d] out”. Tearing elephants away from their families, beating them into submission, and forcing them to give rides to tourists is cruel.
PETA India – in collaboration with leading industrial product design company Desmania Design – has submitted the design for a modern electric vehicle, which resembles a royal chariot, to the chief secretary of Rajasthan and appealed the chief minister of Rajasthan to help elephants by ending their use for tourist rides. Environment- and animal-friendly vehicles would be a suitable alternative to ferry tourists safely on the hilly terrain of Amer Fort.
You can help elephants by signing the appeal below.