Forest dept plans camp for elephants in Hogenakkal

The Dharmapuri forest range is one of the largest forest areas in Tamil Nadu comprising 1.64 lakh hectares with 136 reserve forests and 18 protected zones.
According to Naidu, the centre would be similar to the elephant camp functioning in Theppakadu in Nilgiris district.
According to Naidu, the centre would be similar to the elephant camp functioning in Theppakadu in Nilgiris district.

DHARMAPURI:  The District Forest Office is preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for setting up an elephant conservation centre in Hogenakkal. The centre would come up on ten acres of land.

Explaining the project without revealing details about cost, District Forest Officer KV Appala Naidu said “ The Dharmapuri forest range is one of the largest forest areas in Tamil Nadu comprising 1.64 lakh hectares with 136 reserve forests and 18 protected zones.

Recently, the state government announced that a part of this rich area will become part of the new Cauvery wildlife sanctuary that will encompass over 67,000 hectares. Further, Dharmapuri is an integral part of the elephant corridor. So we are taking steps to set up an elephant conservation centre.”

He added, “Dharmapuri houses the eighth largest elephant population.  According to the recent Synchronized Elephant Population Estimation Survey, over 144 elephants were found in the district. The animal is a crucial component in the ecosystem and directly influences expansion of forest resources. The aim of setting up the Elephant Conservation Centre is to raise awareness among people about elephants and importance of forests.”

According to Naidu, the centre would be similar to the elephant camp functioning in Theppakadu in Nilgiris district. Kumki elephants and mahouts/cavadis would be stationed in the camp which would be used to train captured rogue animals and turned into captive elephants. If required, kumkis would be dispatched to rescue and capture elephants in distress. In the future, we could have safari rides also, he added.

Commenting on why Hogenakkal was chosen, the DFO said, “Hogenakkal is an integral part of the elephant corridor. It has a rich convergence of local population and tourists, which makes it easier for us to put across our message.”

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