THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottur is set to receive the facelift planned by the Kerala Forest Department to construct an old-age home for elephants and a nursery for baby elephants with advanced facilities.
Funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), the C105 crore- project aims to provide upgraded facilities for elephants to help them live in a natural environment. "The elephant rehabilitation centre under renovation will protect the rescued aged and baby elephants," said Y M Shajikumar, wildlife warden, Thiruvananthapuram and chief executive officer of Neyyar-Peppara Forest Development Agency.
The first phase of the project involves C72 crore and comprises 50 elephant enclosures including separate enclosures for baby elephants. A separate facility for bachelor and married mahouts will be constructed along with a speciality veterinarian clinic with modern facilities. The elephant dung will be utilised for making paper and other products.
In the old-age homes, aged elephants from the elephant camps under the Forest department will be accommodated. Veterinary doctors will be available 24-hours A special diet is also planned for the elephants with respect to its physical condition. Special zones will be created for aged elephants to move about. "We plan to take in privately-owned aged elephants. Wild aged elephants caught damaging crops will also be taken in, " said Shajikumar. Mahouts will be appointed at a calf-rearing facility. A health-care facility and a kitchen will be set up to provide special food for baby elephants. The baby elephants will join the other elephants after three years. Forest authorities plan to start work after the elections in June.