If in the wilderness, six-and-a-half-year-old calf elephant Sivan, would have travelled long distances across the jungles and lived on wild barks and leaves. He would have been part of a herd, merrily playing pranks.
But that was not to be. Sivan was born in captivity to Lakshmi, bought by elephant owner Puthenkulam Shaji from Sonepur fair in 2006.
The elephant owner considered himself fortunate when Lakshmi gave birth to the calf on April 2, 2007, at his elephant camp in Puthenkulam, near Kollam. The 19 male elephants at the camp looked in awe at the new arrival.
From then on, it was mahouts under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon and captive elephant management expert B. Aravind who played the role of nanny to Sivan.
At six-and-a-half, Sivan is the youngest captive elephant in the State. Dr. Aravind says the calf has grown huge and his tusks are already prominent. Sivan was weaned when he was a little over two years when Lakshmi was shifted to another camp a little distance away in September 2009. Though both are in Kollam district, the mother and child have not seen each other since.
Dr. Aravind says elephants have strong memory, and there are chances that Lakshmi and Sivan could revive their bond if they met. So, they will be kept away from each other for more years.
Wild elephants are great nomads moving over long distances, but Sivan has been confined to the elephant camp most of his life. In fact, he would find the forests a strange place.
In one or two years, Sivan will be taken for temple festivals. Since he is captive-born and bred, Sivan will adapt himself well to human surroundings, says Mr. Shaji.