Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Temple elephants head for rejuvenation camp at Mettupalayam, Coimbatore

The sort of secluded place near Vanabhadrakali Amman temple in Thekkumpatti near Mettupalayam, Coimbatore is abuzz with activity ~ Solar electric fences  are being erected around as  Thekkumpatti forms part of the migratory path of wild elephants during winter and forest officials are keen to avoid any disruption that may be caused to the proposed activity.

If you are wondering what this could be about, beginning from today [26th Nov 12], the Tamil Nadu government is organising a 48-day-long vacation for temple elephants in the wilderness. As many as 35 pachyderms are heading to a 'rejuvenation camp' in Theppakadu reserve forest along the Moyar river in the Mudumalai hills. Rejuvenation is the hypothetical reversal of the aging process; it seeks to repair the damage that is associated with aging or replacement of damaged tissue with new tissue. Rejuvenation can be a means of life extension, but most life extension strategies do not involve rejuvenation.  "The wild elephants have already started migrating. So we must protect the camp from possible attacks. The HR and CE minister M S M Anadan visited the camp site on Thursday and reiterated the need for solar fencing,'' said forest veterinarian N S Manoharan.   The new camp site possesses salubrious climate and adequate fodder in the plains, Thekkampatti offers plenty of water from the upper Bhavani. The Mettuppalyam camp is easily accessible from Coimbatore, Salem, Erode and Sathyamangalam. Better road connectivity is another advantage, claims the officials.
rally of elephants ! at Tirunelveli ~ courtesy : The Hindu 
Most of the elephants from various parts of the state  have proceeded to camp site before dawn. With some of them not willing to step into the truck, the mahouts had a tough time in pacifying the pachyderms and getting them on board.  Loaded in lorries, nine elephants with their mahouts from Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts on Saturday left for the 48-day annual rejuvenation camp to start at Mettupalayam from November 26 onwards. For those from Tirunelveli, the elephants’ journey began with flagging off by Minister for Khadi and Village Industries P. Senthurpandian at the Bypass Road Flyover near KTC Nagar. Elephants that left for Mettupalayam are from Lord Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Tiruchendur (Kumaran and Deivaanai), Sankaranarayana Swamy Temple, Sankarankovil (Gomathi), Sri Nellaiyappar Gandhimathi Ambal Temple, Tirunelveli (Gandhimathi), Kumarasamy Temple, Ilanji (Kumaravalli), Aathinaathar Temple, Alwarthirunagari (Aathinayaki), Vaiththamaanthi Perumal Temple, Thirukkolur (Kumuthavalli), Aravindalosanar Temple, Irattai Thiruppathi (Lakshmi) and Sthaanumaalayan Temple, Suchindram (Gopalan).  Reports state that  Vellaiyammal, elephant of Big Temple in Thanjavur, will not attend the camp. Doctors have advised against transporting the animal as it is 62 years old.  Tusker Goplan from Sucheendram Temple in Kanyakumari and female elephant Sulikampal from Agneewaraswami Thirukovil at Thirupukalur in Nagapattinam are the senior most members, both aged 60 years. The youngest member is nine-year-old Akhila from Arulmigu Jambukeswar Akhilandeswari Thirukovil at Thiruvanakaval in Trichy. While Gopalan and Akhila were at ease with the new surroundings, Sulikampal faced some difficulty in adapting to the new environment.

At the camp, the jumbos will receive a royal treatment for the next one and a half month. From a herbal diet to health screening and treatment for infections, the elephants will get to enjoy a stress-free life in the jungle environs.  They'll be fed with green fodder including sugarcane, sorghum and cariota leaves, for which special tenders have been floated. They'll also be looked after by forest veterinarians during the entire stretch of the vacation. A 650m road for their morning and evening walks was  made ready recently.  Construction of the kitchen and accommodation facilities for mahouts are also underway. Five bathing ghats have been created in the Bhavani River for the visiting temple elephants. During the 48-day camp, the animals will bathe twice a day. The public can view the elephants from a distance of 500 metres during the camp.

On their arrival at the camp, the elephants would not be allowed to mingle with the inmates but kept at a separate enclosure so as to prevent any possible spread of infections. To ensure that they become infection free, the pachyderms would be given an anti- viral bath with bleaching and lime powder. While the jumbos enjoy their break, the mahouts and the temple authorities would be trained on proper upkeep of their 'pets'. Accordingly, they would be taught about nutritional diet, first- aid and treatment procedures, which must be followed in elephant management.

A brainchild of Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, the health camp was launched in 2003 during her previous tenure but was later abandoned by the DMK government.  The camp will go on till January 12, 2013, will have elephants from 33 temples and five mutts in the State. The camp is being organised by the departments of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) and Animal Husbandry in association with PWD and Forest Department. Except the sick, pre-disposed to sickness elephants and male elephants in masth (aggressive behaviour owing to urge for biological ventilation), all other elephants will attend the camp.

Good care for the elephants indeed

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

No comments:

Post a Comment