A five day camp organised by the Forest Department for mahouts that began at Kottiyam near here on Monday is becoming a unique experience for those attending it. More than eighty mahouts from the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathamamthitta, Alapuzha, Kottayam and Eranakulam districts are participating in the camp.

Organised in association with the Animal Husbandry Department and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the programme is mainly intended to impart scientific aspects of captive elephant management and provide practical tips for the purpose. The sensitive parts of the elephants are also being demonstrated. This is to stress that injury to these parts could be life threatening to the animal.

Experts in elephant management and veteran mahouts are leading the camp. As part of a de-addiction programme, especially for those mahouts who are in the habit of consuming liquor, a session by a psychologist has also been arranged.

A medical camp and a detailed session to create awareness among the mahouts on the Wildlife Protection Act and the Kerala Captive Elephant Management Rules are also part of the camp. There will be an open forum on the last day. Classes are being led by the captive elephant management experts K.C. Panickar, K.N.M. Nair. E.K. Easwaram, B. Aravind and A.G.Babu.