Elephant polo matches for tourists have finally come to an end in Rajasthan, India, after almost 6 years since the ban came into force in 2008.
“There was a Rajasthan high court ban on elephant polo in 2008. The high court had issued a notice to the state government on the charges of violating animal protection laws while permitting elephant polo matches and using elephants for any kind of performance. The ownership certificates had to be renewed every five years but the Rajasthan government failed to comply,” said wildlife activist Naresh Kadyan to The Times of India, who started the campaign Jumbo Cause to end the use of elephants for entertainment purposes.
“I was not aware that elephant polo was banned. But now that I know it I have written to all my agents that beginning now, I would be unable to organize any more elephant polo matches that are illegal,” said Udaijit Singh of Dera Amber, one of the places where elephant polo matches were held. Other places were Rambagh and Jai Mahal hotels and City Palace, all of whom are refusing to host polo matches.
“A letter has been sent to our head office and country offices around the world. We have informed our head office and told overseas agents that elephant polo is not available henceforth as it is illegal. We don’t mind losing business but will not do anything wrong,” said a tour operator.
Elephant polo started in the 20th century and is also played in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.