The Shame of Project Elephant

  • by: Jessica Edwards
  • recipient: Shri D.D. Verma, Joint Secretary (PG), Ministry of Environment and Forest
This petition was created to protest the horrific torture and death of a young Bull Elephant that began on February 5th, 2003 by an indian elephant handler known as Parbati Baruah and her husband who is the director of Project Elephant.
Government of India
Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) V S Silekar
Ministry of Environment and Forests Shri D.D. Verma
Joint Secretary (PG)
4th Floor
Paryawaran Bhawan, CGO Complex
Lodi Road, New Delhi- 110003 INDIA

On February 5th, 2003, In the densely forested region of India known as Chattisgarh, A wild young male elephant was targeted and chased by a group of men employed and directed by Parbati Baruah and her husband, SS Bisht who, for over the last 10 years, receive funds by the Indian government to manage Elephant herds throughout the country under the name Project Elephant. For over two months, Parbati Baruah and her crew tried unsuccessfully to capture stray elephants in the surrounding area to satisfy the latest request by the Indian government who were concerned about the threat of property and agricultural damage and the increasing numbers of human-animal conflicts that had occurred in the past 6 months in the surrounding areas.

The bewildered elephant was shot with a tranquilizer gun and its head was tightly bound by thick rope to prevent movement. The animals’ legs were drawn and quartered and tied to trees. As he screamed, his tusks were cut off with hacksaws. Still alive, he struggled in vain but was left unable to free himself from the thick ropes that had now cut into his skin. For the next eighteen days, he suffered from his injuries and without food or water until he died. This gruesome incident was captured on film by Mike Pandey and his crew who were working on a research project also commissioned by the Indian government. The footage has being distributed to gain support in lobbying the Indian parliament to instate humane elephant relocation and transition methods in addition to conducting an investigation in the horrific torture and death of this Elephant.

Project Elephant was initially created in 1992 by the government of India to conserve and protect Elephant populations throughout India by providing education ,monitoring & communication equipment to forest department employees, provide veterinary medicine and training facilities, establish anti poaching regimes , develop corridors for safe migratory passage , implement habitat preservation and relocation assignments However, despite the projected intentions, corrupt leadership and mismanagement has replaced any hope of success or accomplishment with accounts of severe torture and death by the use of inhumane methods of capture known as mela shikar or Kheda by the very people who were appointed to protect this species over a decade ago.

By signing this petition you are supporting the efforts of The International Fund for Animal Welfare in association with The Wildlife Trust of India who are asking for the immediate suspension of duties and elephant captures by Ms. Parbati Baruah and her husband, SS Bisht, director of Project Elephant.

We, the undersigned are petitioning the Ministry of Forests and the Indian Government to implement an immediate revocation of title, authority and funding from Ms. Parbati and her husband, SS Bisht for their direct involvement in the inhumane capture and subsequent torture and death of a young male bull elephant in Chattisgarh that occurred in February, 2003. We are asking that until humane methods used to restrain and capture Elephants can be demonstrated and employed by qualified highly trained personnel that all Elephant captures are suspended by Project Elephant.

cc: Shri Alok, Director of Grievances
Reforms and Public Grievances,
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances
And Pensions,
Government of India,
Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad Marg,
New Delhi –110 001.
Tel :011-91-11- 336 2325
FAX : 011-91-11- 374 2133
e-mail :
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