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Home > News > Report

Elephants are on sale in Bihar

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | December 08, 2007 12:31 IST

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In the garb of he age-old traditional practice of daan (gift), nearly three dozen elephants have been sold at the Sonepur cattle fair in Bihar, considered Asia's largest cattle fair.

This rare modus operandi has been adopted by traders engaged in sale and purchase of elephants to escape from the clutches of the law that prohibits the trade of this endangered animal.

Sale and purchase of elephants is banned under the national wildlife protection laws. Even the Bihar government claimed to have strictly enforced wildlife protection laws at the Sonepur cattle fair. But elephants are on sale here.

"This year nearly 35 elephants have been sold in the name of daan to get rid of violation of the Wildlife Protection Act," a man engaged as middle-man in sale and purchase of elephants told on Saturday.

However, the official records of the Sonepur cattle fair show no sale and purchase of elephants.

"Elephants are brought here for show only. Their sale and purchase is banned in the fair," a wild life officer posted at the fair said.

About 80 elephants were brought this year in the fair. "Over 50 of them would be sold in the name of gift," another trader, engaged in selling horses, said.

Sources in the cattle fair said that an elephant is costlier than a SUV in the market. "Elephants have been sold to the highest bidder, that come between Rs 7 lakh to a whopping 20 lakh rupees," sources said.

Each elephant is sold for a different price.