MR Palayam rehabilitation centre, a go-to-destination to treat sick elephants

An average of 230 kg of food is provided to each elephant every day. The diet includes green fodder, fruits and a ragi mudde made using different millets.

Published: 23rd December 2021 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2021 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Elephants revelling at the MR Palayam rehabilitation centre in Tiruchy district on Wednesday | Express/MK Ashok Kumar

By Express News Service

TIRUCHY: The Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at MR Palayam continues to grow as a haven for sick pachyderms in the State, with two new elephants in dire health conditions being brought for rehabilitation last week.

With this, the elephant population at the centre has increased to eight in three years. In a bid to create a facility for rehabilitation for private captive elephants, the Forest Department had set up the centre at MR Palayam.

After remaining idle for years, the facility became a go-to destination for treating for sick elephants in 2019. In a latest addition, Rohini (25) and Indira (60) were brought in from Topslip and Rajapalayam for treatment on December 19 and 20 respectively. Satish, Chief Conservator of Forests, Tiruchy range, said,

"As one of the elephants suffers from severe weight loss and other with cataract issues, veterinary doctors are conducting inspections and have begun treatment. We hope the elephants get healthy soon." Apart from Rohini and Indira, Indu (35), Santhiya (45), Jayanthi (23), Malachi (34), Gomathi (65) and Jameela (60) have also been receiving treatment at the centre for over a couple of years.

These elephants are regularly examined by a team of veterinary doctors and are given a healthy diet. Satish, forest guard at the centre said, "The day for an elephant starts at 6 am, with a morning walk for over 10 km. Two caretakers -- a mahout and Cavady (assistant) -- stay always with the elephants.

Apart from taking the elephants for walks, they also give them a shower, take care of their diet and provide medicines. A veterinary doctor from Coimbatore monitors the health of each elephant every fortnight and a veterinary doctor from the district visits the camp every single week."

An average of 230 kg of food is provided to each elephant every day. The diet includes green fodder, fruits and a ragi mudde made using different millets.

"The mudde is made using green gram, horse gram, rice, turmeric, cumin, gingerly oil, mineral mix and salt. Proportion of each mixture is based on the requirement of the elephant. The quantity changes for different elephants and the diet is curated by the veterinary doctor. The food is monitored by the Forest Department each day and best quality is ensured," a mahout taking care of Santhiya said.

Incidentally, the Forest Department hopes the diet at the centre could be the crucial change in providing recovery for Rohini, which had lost over 400 kg in the last few months.

A forest official monitoring her health, said, "The elephants living in the Topslip camp survive on natural food which is available. However, here we curate the food and provide food based on requirement of each elephant. Rohini was weighing over 3,800 kg, but had lost over 400 kg in the last few months. Her weight is not proportionate to her height. We hope the diet at the centre will help her recover and make her get better." 

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