It will be for 48 days on a five-acre land near Vanabadrakaliamman Temple near Mettupalayam

Arrangements are in the final stages for the 48-day rejuvenation camp for around 40 elephants on a five-acre land belonging to the Public Works Department near Vanabadrakaliamman Temple near Mettupalayam.

The camp, beginning on November 26, will go on till January 12, 2013, will have elephants from 33 temples and five mutts in the State. The camp is being organised by the departments of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) and Animal Husbandry in association with PWD and Forest Department.

The camp normally is held at Mudumalai in the Nilgiris. The State has chosen to shift the venue to the foothills of the Nilgiris, considering the risk involved in the travel of the jumbos in the ghat section. The cost of running the camp also goes up because of the transportation of materials from the plains to the hills.

In addition, the recent order of the Supreme Court banning activities within tiger reserve is also said to be one of the reasons for shifting the camp site. The site has been chosen as the ideal location because of its proximity to Bhavani.

On Thursday, Minister for HR and CE M.S.M. Anandan, Commissioner for HR and CE P. Dhanapal, Collector M. Karunagaran and Joint Commissioner for HR and CE M. Pugazhendiran inspected the works.

Except the sick, pre-disposed to sickness elephants and male elephants in masth (aggressive behaviour owing to urge for biological ventilation), all other elephants will attend the camp. The camp will include stay in natural habitat, with special balanced diet including mineral, protein and vitamin supplements for the jumbos. Junior-most pachyderms expected to attend the camp include 12-year-old Kumaran of Tiruchendur temple and three elephants in the age group of six to eight from temples in Tiruchirapalli and delta regions. The senior-most jumbo for the camp is likely to be Sulikambal (62) of Sulikamebswarar temple in Kumbakonam region.

Diet quantity and dosage of supplements will depend on the gender, age and physiological condition of each elephant (see box).

A team of veterinarians would be camping at the site to periodically assess the health of the elephants, said Forest Veterinarian N.S. Manoharan.

Normally, wild elephants migrate during November-June and travel from Karnataka and Wayanad to Tamil Nadu via Thengumarahada, Sathyamangalam and the down slopes of Nilgiris to reach Silent Valley and back. To prevent the wild elephants from getting into conflict with the temple elephants at the camp, four watch towers are being installed besides solar electric fencing of the five acre site.

During the camp, elephant handlers (mahouts and cavadis) will have interactive session with veterinarians on the behavioural patterns and physiological condition of elephants.

Already, training has begun for temple elephants on how to walk up to the ramp and board a truck. The elephants are expected to reach the camp site from Sunday (November 25) morning.

More In: Coimbatore