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32 temple elephants join rejuvenation camp

A month-long annual rejuvenation camp for temple elephants began with much fanfare along the Bhavani near Badrakaliamman Temple in Mettupalayam on Thursday.

Published: 10th February 2017 01:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2017 03:11 AM   |  A+A-

Temple elephants participating in the annual rejuvenation programme at Thekampatti camp site near Mettupalayam on Thursday | Express

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: A month-long annual rejuvenation camp for temple elephants began with much fanfare along the Bhavani near Badrakaliamman Temple in Mettupalayam on Thursday. As many as 32 temple elephants, including two from Puducherry, are participating, while another two are expected to reach the camp in the next few days.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Commissioner M Veera Shanmuga Moni inaugurated the camp by feeding banana and pineapple to a pachyderm at 8.30 am. The centre of attraction at the camp is Masini, a female elephant who happens to be the youngest participant. Masini was abandoned by her mother in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in 2007. The Forest Department rescued and maintained her in Theppakkadu elephant camp at MTR in Udhagamandalam district. After a four-month training in November 2015 at Chadivayal elephant camp in Coimbatore, she was handed over to Samayapuram Mariyamman Temple in Tiruchy last year.

“This is the ninth year of the camp, conducted to improve mental health and physical behaviour of all temple elephants. For those elephants that are unable to attend the camp here, instructions have been given to provide special food at their respective places and their health monitored by a local veterinarian. Special classes would be conducted to mahouts and Kavadis on giving the best care to the pachyderms,” said Moni.

A balanced diet with flattened rice, turmeric, salt, dates, jaggery, rice, horse gram, green gram and a variety of green fodder along with fruits and sugarcane will be provided to the elephants.
“Four teams have been formed to check the animals’ health on a shift basis over the next one month. Fresh dung samples will be collected on Friday morning to detect diseases in animals,” said T Tamilselvan, Regional Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry. Sivakami, owned by Sri Thiruthalinathar Swamy Temple, Thiruppathur in Sivaganga district, was treated for a wound on its leg.

Lakshmi from Manakula Vinayagar Temple in Puducherry reached on Thursday evening, while Prakruthi from Dharbaranyeswarar Temple at Thirunallar came to the camp in the night. Ramalakshmi, owned by Arulmigu Ramanthaswamy Thirukoil, and Kothai from Adikesavan Perumal Thirukoil, Sriperumbudur, were unable to attend the camp due to temple festivals. They are expected in the coming days.
Measures have been taken to protect the camp site from wild elephants. “Most of the camp site, spread over nearly nine acres, is surrounded by a hanging solar fence, solar fence and steel fence. Also five watch towers have been set up,” said S Ramasubramaniam, District Forest Officer in Coimbatore. Public can visit the camp between 10 am and 12 pm.



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