For the first time in seven years, the elephants belonging to the forest department would attend the rejuvenation camp, so far held for their temple counterparts, near Mettupalayam from Thursday.
Though the 48-day camp would see around 100 elephants, including temple and kumkis. While the 33 temple elephants would attend the Thekkampatty camp, the 55 forest elephants from Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Coimbatore range and Vandalur Zoo would camp at Nellithorai.
P Dhanpal, commissioner of HR&CE, said, “It is the first time that elephants in such a large number would come together for the rejuvenation camp. Based on the order of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, 33 temple elephants would be attend the camp.” Dhanpal said that the special diet for the jumbos at the camp would comprise rice, ragi, bamboo leaves, coconut leaves, banana leaves, green gram, chyvanaprasam, ashtasuranam, and vitamin tablets.
M Senthil Kumar, district forest officer, Coimbatore division, said, “At least 55 elephants of the department would participate and as many as 13 elephants reached the camp on Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, the administration of Lord Ramanatha Swamy temple sent its temple elephant Rama Lakshmi to Thekkampatti rejuvenation camp from Rameswaram on Wednesday.
The temple priests performed Gaja pooja before Rama Lakshmi’s departure for the camp.
Three temple elephants from Thanjavur temples also left for Thekkampatti rejuvenation camp.
Sources said that Dharmambal, Tiruvaiyaru Iyarappar temple elephant, Sengamalam, Mannargudi Rajagopalasamy temple elephant, and Sooligambal, Tiuppugalur Agneeswarasamy temple elephant, were brought to Thanjavur on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, replying to a PIL from S Jayachandran of Uthagamandalam praying for a direction to the authorities concerned not to take camp elephants in Mudumalai and Aanamalai Tiger Reserves to the rejuvenation camp, the Chief Conservator of Forests in his counter-affidavit filed in the Madras High Court on Wednesday said, elephants affected by diseases, will not be taken to the rejuvenation camp.
Four to Stay Back
Health issues have prevented four temple elephants, including two from Madurai, Madhuravalli, of Koodalalagar Perumal temple, Parvathi of Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, along with two other elephants from Salem , Rajeswari of Sri Suhavaneswarar temple and Andal from Kurumbapatti zoo will not be participating in the camp.