The 48-day camp is proving to be a vacation for mahouts as well
The 48-day camp rejuvenation seems to be a great stress buster for the elephants, which are seen exhibiting a relaxed behaviour in the last one week since the camp began.
According to camp organisers, the elephants, which are social by nature, are getting along well with the new company and have begun to exhibit a relaxed behaviour. They are reacting positively to the health regimen being put in place in the camp.
Further, a team of veterinarians are attending to the minor ailments that are commonly found on their feet such as sore and small wounds. The health of elephants was being monitored by veterinarians on a daily basis.
While 43 temple/mutt elephants and 55 captive elephants of Forest Department were scheduled to take part along with the elephants of Manakula Vinayagar Temple in Puducherry and Nagore Dargah in Nagapattinam district, 52 elephants (34 temple/mutt and 18 forest elephants) finally arrived at the camp.
This followed specific instructions to not bring elephants that were not fit enough to undertake the journey or were reluctant to board the vehicle.
The camp is proving to be a vacation for the mahouts as well. Games have been arranged for them besides other recreational activities. Further, a special training would also be given to them, officials said.
The elephant sheds and the infrastructure for feeding and other purposes have already been completed along the six-acre camp site located on the banks of River Bhavani at Thekkampatti near Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district.
On Tuesday evening, commotion prevailed at the camp, when the mahouts spotted a wild male elephant in the camp site trying to get closer to two female temple elephants. Forest staff, camp staff and mahouts by bursting crackers and beating drums, chased the wild tusker away. Now, officials have strengthened the fortification of the camp by strengthening the solar fencing and by deploying staff around the camp site and there are watch towers too. In addition to the temple and mutt elephants from the State and Forest Department camp elephants, three guests this year are the elephants - Fathima Beevi (48) of Nagore Dargah, Lakshmi (24) of Manakula Vinayakar Temple in Puducherry and nine-year-old Prakruti from Thirunalluru Temple in Karaikal.
Junior-most elephant is the seven-year old Sundaravalli Thayar from Azhagarkoil in Madurai and senior most is the 61-year-old Sulikambal from Nagapattinam. Forest Department camp elephant Kalpana from Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Top Slip. Kalpana is considered the tallest female elephant.
Every day, especially with the commencement of school vacation, a lot of visitors are making a beeline with the children to show them the elephants in close quarters. Elephants, too, without disappointing them entertain them by playing football, playing mouth-organ and provide a feast to the eyes of the visitors with the way they befriend each other.