OUTLAWED: “Drunk driving” on elephants has been officially banned in Sri Lanka.
The State Minister of Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayake released the new regulations on Thursday, August 19. According to the document, elephant handlers are banned from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
As Unilad reports, the regulations also state that baby elephants under the age of two must be kept with their mothers and have subsequently been prohibited from working. The owner of the elephants has the obligation to “ensure that the mahout (rider) is not consuming any liquor or any harmful drug while employed.”
In the South Asian nation, owning an elephant is a symbol of wealth, as revealed by CNA. Unfortunately, the innocent animals are often being mistreated and kept in harsh conditions.
— Mhairi (@MhairiMacfa) March 31, 2015
Official records show there are about 200 domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka.
The new regulations will now require a biometric ID for every domesticated elephant in the country. The card will include the animal’s DNA information, as well as a photograph.
What’s more, logging animals should work for not more than 4 hours a day, and night labor is forbidden. Elephants are also entitled to two-and-a-half hours bathe time to cool off.
Since the country has also had issues with tourism, the new law states that only up to four people are allowed to ride on top of an elephant at the same time.
Meanwhile, all elephants in captivity must be provided with a mandatory health check every six months. The mammals in question are also banned from participating in movies unless they are taking part in government productions.
Those who do not comply with the rules could face up to three years behind bars.