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Updated: June 24, 2013 14:03 IST

A new guest at Vandalur Zoo

K. Manikandan
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INTO FRIENDLY ENVIRONS: The just-born abandoned female elephant calf being led to an enclosure at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur on Tuesday. Photo: A. Muralitharan
The Hindu
INTO FRIENDLY ENVIRONS: The just-born abandoned female elephant calf being led to an enclosure at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur on Tuesday. Photo: A. Muralitharan

Abandoned calf shifted to new home after efforts to reunite fail

The new-born female elephant calf, which was abandoned by her mother and a herd at Odanthurai Reserve Forest Area at Mettupalayam in Coimbatore, a couple of days ago, was brought to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Vandalur Zoo) near here on Tuesday evening.

The calf was let into an enclosure where Urigam, an orphaned 14-month-old male calf, is being nursed.

After efforts to reunite the female calf with its mother and the herd failed, the Forest Department decided to shift it to the Vandalur Zoo.

The rear of a sports utility vehicle was modified to accommodate the calf and the vehicle left early on Monday. The vehicle reached Vandalur Zoo around 5 p.m.

The two calves wasted no time in bonding together, much to the delight of the onlookers and media crew. According to a senior Forest Department official, Urigam sniffed the female calf and took her under his care immediately.

The immediate priority was to feed the female calf and make it acclimatise to the new environs. The zoo authorities will ensure that it receives proper food, considering that it has been deprived of mother's milk.

The officials will discuss when the calf can be released for public viewing. It will take some time for the other elephants to accept a new addition to the herd.

Normally, a just-born calf are not exposed to the public or the media, for fear that the sudden attention would unsettle it. But an exception was made on Tuesday.

Emotional farewell

V.S. Palaniappan reports from Mettupalayam: On Tuesday morning, the abandoned calf was brought to the Forest Department office on Kotagiri Road. And, what followed was an emotional farewell.

It was garlanded and a puja was performed by breaking a coconut, lighting camphor and incense sticks. The calf trumpeted a couple of times before it was placed inside the vehicle. Officials said it could have been the calf's frantic effort to find its mother.

Dried banana leaves packed in three plastic gunny bags were kept on three sides of the boot of the air-conditioned maxi-cab to prevent injuries to the animal while travelling.

The driver was asked to maintain a uniform speed and temperature inside the vehicle. Four Forest personnel accompanied the calf with adequate stock of milk, glucose and tender coconut.

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