PATHANAMTHITTA: The Konni Elephant Camp got its new member on Thursday and has already won hearts. The male elephant calf, named Kannan, was rescued from a canal near Kochandi check post within the Goodrical forest range in Ranni. “The ‘Kattile Kannan’ has become a member of our elephant camp. He is just eight months old and is very naughty. Besides his favourite rice porridge and banana, Kannan’s diet also comprises lactogen, and he is very healthy,” said a forest official at the camp. The forest officials had rescued the male baby elephant in August after the local people, who saw the calf in the canal, alerted the forest officials.
At first, it was assumed that the calf lost its herd and accidentally reached the canal. So, the officials kept him in a small temporary shelter in the Pannikunnu forest area for two days in an attempt to reunite the calf with its herd. But though there were two herds near his temporary shelter, they did not come near the calf, and moved away instead. The calf was then taken to Kochukoikkal forest station in Ranni. He was sheltered in a shed near the forest station till Wednesday and was named ‘Kannan’.
Assistant forest veterinary officer Syam Chandran on Thursday conducted check-ups, including blood tests, of the calf. “His results are satisfactory. He is healthy now and we are giving special care to him,” said Syam. Konni divisional forest officer Syam Mohanlal said he has deployed a special team to attend to the baby elephant. “Two mahouts are taking care of him and a forest official is also in charge of his health,” he said.
The forest officials suspect that the calf was abandoned by its herd. “Normally, a mother elephant abandons its calf if it has any defects. It can understand if the baby has any defect, but we can’t. We can detect it only later,” an official said. Famous elephant Konni Surendran was also rescued similarly. Surendran was around six or seven months old when he was found standing near his dead mother at Rajampara in Ranni in 1999. He stole the hearts of elephant fans and forest officials in a short span of time with his elegant features and proud stride.
In April this year, a baby elephant named Junior Surendran was brought to the camp from Malappuram. However, it died in May. The three-month-old calf was under treatment for indigestion and hernia, and was slated to undergo a surgery when he died. The elephant calf was found alone in a lawn called Putharipadam close to the forest area under the Nilambur North Forest Division in Malappuram on March 13.