Environmentalists say that while elephant training camps brings eco-tourism, they also increase population around these camps, create a shortage of fodder, and compromised the well being of elephants who are now unemployed because of mechanization. Elephant camps were created to train elephants as workers to move heavy timber logs. However, with mechanization, elephants are now unemployed, chained, and deprived of rations by mahouts who take the handout from the Forest Department.
Some conservationists propose that these elephants be released into the wild but Forest Department officials say that these domesticated ones may be attacked by their wild cousins because the depletion of fodder.
India would do well to emulate Sri Lanka (Pinnawele Camp) by creating a separate camp for these unemployed and domesticated elephants. Revenues from tourism can be used to offset the costs. With strong Government regulation and supervision, these majestic animals can be housed with dignity. India should also ban the practice of gifting elephants to temples or housing these animals. Temple elephants get the most maintenance money but also most abused by greedy mahouts.
plight of unemployed elephants is very acute.