SALEM: After all efforts to reunite the separated elephant calf with its mother failed, the Karnataka Forest Department took it to the Mysore zoo on Sunday morning.
The search for the mother by the Salem Forest Division and the Palar Range Forest Personnel in Karnataka failed in the last two days. Special teams were formed to trace the cow-elephant that had left the calf on the fringes of forest. Following this, experts decided to translocate the calf.
The team had considered leaving the calf in the company of the M M Hills Temple Elephant, which was distressed after its calf died recently.
In the last two days, the health of the calf, which was in the custody of the Palar Check Post camp guards, had deteriorated due to dehydration and emotional stress.
“Although the Palar check post camp staff took care of the calf, we felt it wasn’t a place to keep the calf for a long period.
As the guards were not trained in handling baby elephants, and the area being too far from veterinary facilities, it was decided to shift it to a more suitable spot,” said Javeed Mumtaz, district forest officer, M M Hills Wild Life Sanctuary.
The decision was taken in the best interest of the animal, he said. Although the mother could not be located, we may still bringing back the calf from the Mysore zoo if she is found, he added.
Mysore zoo was chosen over M M Hills because of the better medical facilities available there.
Besides, the zoo has a few lactating female elephants and quite a number of juvenile elephants to keep the calf company. The calf would not only get a stepmother but also have play mates, the official said. He said, it was the last option as the chances of finding the mother was proving impossible.
S Sharavanan, trustee, WNCT said, “We raised concerns over the calf’s ability to withstand the 160-km journey from Palar check post through the tough ghat roads to Mysore. We also raised concerns about the possibility of the zoo elephants not accepting the newcomer. But the Karnataka forest officials were convinced that the sooner the calf was translocated the better its chances of survival were, said Sharavanan.
Sources at the Palar check post said the calf left to Mysore at 8.30 am and reached Mysore zoo in the afternoon.
WNCT volunteers who followed the calf said it was taken to a special medical ward. The zoo vet confirmed that the calf was given a good feed and was stable.