In India, wild elephants are facing two problems. First, they are losing land as agriculture expands into the 1,800 square mile "corridor" they live in. Second, they are wandering into villages in search of food, where they come into conflict with people, often resulting in violence. State forestry officials say that some 20 to 25 people are killed by elephants every year, and acres of croplands are eaten or trampled by them.
India is currently considering the idea of reintroducing a tradition known as "Mela shikar" - a traditional method of capturing wild elephants for captivity in working camps and for tourist attractions. The practice was originally banned in 1977 under the country's Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, but the government still has the power to allow elephant capture for population control or research. In the state of Karnataka, a high court recently passed an order allowing 25 wild elephants to be captured this year alone. If the plan goes through, it will be the biggest operation to capture wild elephants since 1971, when 47 animals were captured.
"The idea is to identify a few problematic jumbos in the herd and capture them," Vinod Kumar Yadav, chief conservator of forests told The Times of India. "This scares the rest in the herd and keeps them confined to the 'corridor.'"
Indian officials enter the forest to capture young Asian elephants, a method to "scare" the herd into staying away - and to get more elephants for captivity. Captors use a herd of other tamed elephants to create a kind of "living wall" and isolate them from their herd. They then use tranquilizers and then, according to Poorva Joshipura, CEO of PETA India, the calves are roped and pushed along while under sedation.
"The elephant is then confined inside a kraal [ a sturdy wooden enclosure] or tied between trees and beaten until he or she loses all hope and begins to obey," Joshipura told The Dodo. "This can take months."
There are countless videos of this "breaking" technique on the internet; you can see examples here and here - but be warned, the images may be upsetting.
This year alone, at least ten kraals were constructed in different parts of India to house captured elephants.