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Actor Jayaram's possession of elephant tusks kicks up row

Actor Jayarams possession of elephant tusks kicks up row

Thiruvananthapuram: Animal rights activists are up in arms against the recent order of the Kerala Forest Department, allowing well-known Malayalam actor Jayaram to keep custody of a pair of tusks of his pet jumbo, which had died two years ago.

Citing various provisions of the Declaration Wildlife Stock Rule, 2003, the activists alleged that the actor's claim to possess the tusks of the jumbo 'Perumbavoor Kannan' is illegal as he does not have any ancestral right on the animal.

According to Heritage Animal Task Force, a Thrissur-based animal rights outfit, the provisions of the Stock Rule specifically states that any person who applies for ownership certificate for any wild animal or portions of dead wild animal must have obtained its ownership by inheritance.

"But the actor does not have any ancestral right on this elephant which he had bought from a person in Manissery in Palakkad district years ago," VK Venkitachalam, Secretary of the Task Force, told PTI. "The applicant who applies for such ownership certificate must give a self declaration that he got possession of such animal or animal portions by inheritance. But Jayaram has not obtained possession of any elephant by inheritance," he said.

Quoting reports, he said countries like United States had decided to crush the elephant tusks, having weight of at least one tonne, with an aim to end the international black marketing of elephant tusks. "But in Kerala the state Forest Minister himself orders his top officials to allow a film star to keep a pair of elephant tusks on condition that the actor must not hand over or sell them to others," he said.

Citing these issues, the Task Force today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chairman of the National Board for Wildlife, seeking his urgent intervention in the issue.

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