MADIKERI: Dubaare Elephant Camp, one of the best tamed elephant camps in the country is known for its natural beauty and attracts thousands of tourists, research scholars and students.However, the recent decision of the Forest Minister to sell a few elephants to Madhya Pradesh has left mahouts and kavadis in a dilemma. They are worried about what they will do after spending more than 35 years in Dubaare.
Since they are not permanent employees of the Forest Department and live on daily wages, this decision is a cause of concern. At present, Dubaare camp has 21 tame elephants and 42 staff members. Of them, only 21 are permanent employees and the others are daily wagers.
The mahouts said they were fed up with the step-motherly attitude of the state government. “During Dasara, Operation Elephant or while chasing or taming elephants, we take high risks,” they said.
The Elephant Safari in Dubaare also requires special skill to monitor the elephants as a number of people get too close to them, they added.Somwarpet taluk Budakattu Krishikara Sangha and former ZP member R K Chandru quipped that tribes such as Jenu Kuruba were specialists in training elephants.
He said the present Governor had visited Dubaare where a memorandum was submitted to him and though he promised to bring it to the notice of the state government, nothing was done. We have decided to stage an agitation on February 17 at Madikeri,” he said. He added that out of 88 families in the area ,few had received ration cards.
When asked about these anomalies and the sale of elephants, DCF Madikeri K S Anand said: “The sale or the plea to make the mahouts permanent employees is the decision of seniors in the department .”
He said that since there was a man-elephant conflict in Kodagu, it was better to shift the elephants.