Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], August 18 (ANI): Elephant owners in Hathi Gaon of Jaipur say that they have been facing severe financial issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic and even mortgaged jewellery to feed tuskers.
This village is home to around 86 elephants and their owners. Though elephant rides have been allowed after relaxations made in Covid protocols, it still is not enough to help them recover their losses.
The work has stopped, putting a burden on elephant owners.
Speaking to ANI, Sohaib, owner of 8 elephants said: "One or two elephants go usually for ride purposes. Tourists are negligible. One ride costs Rs 1100, however, the cost of maintaining elephants is even more. It is a serious issue for us."
"The per-day cost of maintaining an elephant is around Rs 2500 to 3000. The assistance provided by the state government has provided relief but it is still not enough," said Asif, another elephant owner with three elephants.
On tourism, he said: Elephants move out of the village and travel to Amber Fort for tourist rides. 25-30 elephants go in a slot. There are days when tourists are not available. Our business would not improve if international flights are kept closed."
"Our elephants are fit and they get a good diet. It is extremely important that they get a good diet in future. We have put our homes, jewels on the mortgage so that these elephants do not miss out on their diet, they are a part of our family and we treat them like one too. Their food has also got expensive," added Asif. (ANI)