Tourists flock to Theppakadu after Oscar for 'The Elephant Whisperers'

Theppakadu Elephant Camp now houses 28 elephants who were captured while they were wild tuskers creating problems for local villagers.

Published: 14th March 2023 06:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2023 06:48 PM   |  A+A-

Elephant whisperers Bomman and Bellie.

Elephant whisperers Bomman and Bellie.


CHENNAI: A large number of tourists keen to see the elephants Raghu and Ammu, who have become famous after the documentary short film, 'The Elephant Whisperers', won an Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards.

The film, helmed by Kartika Gonsalves, revolves around two Kattunaiyakan tribe members, Bomman and Bellie, who nurture and bring up the orphaned elephant calves. Bomman and Bellie even got married while the film was being shot.

Sukumaran Nair from Thiruvananthapuram is visiting the Theppakadu Elephant Camp for the first time. The camp is located deep inside the Mudumalai National Park in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1917 for timber loggers.

ALSO READ | Bomman and Bellie were the first to watch 'The Elephant Whisperers': Kartiki Gonsalves

Nair, a retired Kerala water works department engineer, said during a conversation with IANS: "This is the first time I am paying a visit to the camp. The only idea is to meet the elephants Reghu and Ammu and if possible have a chat with Bomman and Bellie."

Nair and his wife Indira Devi are both retired. When they learnt about film getting an Oscar, they left Thiruvananthapuram in a cab to reach Theppakadu by the evening on Monday. They now hope to have a chat with both Bomman and Bellie, though Bomman is away in Salem to bring back an injured elephant.

The retired engineer said he would stay back at Theppakadu for a couple of days more and try to understand the bonding between the elephants and their mahouts.

Umesh Singh is another tourist who reached Theppakadu in the morning on Tuesday. He told IANS that he was from Delhi and was travelling across the South over the past two weeks. After hearing the news about the Oscar for 'The Elephant Whisperers', he left for Theppakadu to have a glimpse of the elephants Raghu and Ammu.

The camp officials said a few foreign tourists were also there because they wanted to meet the elephants as well as their mahouts.

Theppakadu Elephant Camp now houses 28 elephants who were captured while they were wild tuskers creating problems for local villagers. These jumbos are tamed at this camp and trained to become 'kumki' elephants meant to help in the capture of wild elephants.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp