COIMBATORE: Two kumkis (captive) elephants, being maintained in the Kozhikamuthi elephant camp, have been given the task to assist forest officials in Kerala to drive away a rogue elephant that is causing disturbance in the Mannarkkad forest division. The two jumbos will start their journey on Thursday.
As part of the operation, 51-year-old Kaleem, considered as one of the best kumkis in Tamil Nadu, will assist the foresters in the neighbouring state along with Maariappan, another kumki elephant, to drive away the wild elephant, which is causing trouble in the area. This will be the 49th operation in which Kaleem will be taking part. The pachyderm fondly called as a ‘Pettai Rowdy’ by his mahout is expected to start his journey from Topslip on Thursday, a day after completing the month-long annual rejuvenation camp for captive elephants at Ulandy forest range in ATR.
The animal’s mental and physical health is at its prime due to the special diet and extra care provided by the mahouts and kavadis at the camp.According to V Subbaiah, (DFO), “Deputy director of forest veterinary service N S Manokaran will accompany the elephants. The Kerala government has sought the veterinarian’s help to tranquillise the wild elephant that has killed a few persons near Mannarkkad forest.”
The last operation of Kaleem was in Madukkarai forest range in Coimbatore forest division when it had played a major role in transporting ‘Madukkarai Maharaj’, a wild elephant, to Varakaliyar elephant camp in Topslip in June last year. Madukkarai Maharaj had killed a forest staff. However the animal died while trying to free himself from a ‘Kraal’ (wooden enclosure) a day after it was captured, the official added. According to sources, the neighbouring state will be paying the officials for the operation but the officials refused to reveal the amount.