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Assam: Anant Ambani’s Jamnagar Elephant “Rescue” Claims Spark Controversy

Anant Ambani, the younger son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, recently claimed that the Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust (RKTEWT) in Jamnagar, Gujarat, houses over 200 “rescued” elephants. However, questions have been raised about the nature of this “rescue” and the acquisition of these animals.

Discrepancies in the Narrative

Ambani stated that the RKTEWT “rescued” elephants from across India and provided them with specialized care and a natural habitat within a 600-acre “jungle.” However, an investigation by “Northeast Now” reveals discrepancies in the narrative.

The investigation suggests that many of these “healthy” and “fit to travel” elephants were transported from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Tripura to the RKTEWT, raising concerns about the traditional notion of “rescuing” animals in need.

Wildlife activist Mubina Akhtar questioned the characterization of these elephants as “rescued,” citing the “fit to travel” certificates issued by veterinarians, which are typically not applicable to animals in need of rescue.

Official records confirm the transfer of elephants from these northeastern states to the RKTEWT. Since 2021, at least 39 elephants have been transferred from Arunachal Pradesh, with 17 transported in April and June 2022 alone. Similarly, Tripura has sent 23 elephants to Jamnagar.

While a court-appointed committee in April 2023 recommended transferring 23 elephants (20 from Arunachal Pradesh) to the RKTEWT, the move faced resistance from various wildlife organizations. Despite protests, 20 elephants were transported from Arunachal Pradesh’s Namsai District.

Additional questions remain regarding the origin of these elephants, whether they were captive-bred or captured from the wild. Arunachal Pradesh and upper Assam have documented histories of capturing young elephants, subjecting them to harsh training, and selling them for captive purposes across India.

Anant Ambani has announced the launch of his ambitious wildlife preservation project, titled ‘Vantara,’ one of the world’s largest zoos and rehabilitation centers, within Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery Complex.

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