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Forest officials face jumbo problems

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CUTIE: The male elephant calf rescued by the Forest Department personnel near Burliyar on Friday.
CUTIE: The male elephant calf rescued by the Forest Department personnel near Burliyar on Friday.

V.S. Palaniappan

Mettuppalayam: Forest officials in Coimbatore had a hectic day at Mettuppalayam on Friday.

They had two ``elephantine'' missions , one,when they rescuea less-than-a-month-old male elephant calf in distress near Burliyar and the other,form of to chase two stray elephants from a farmhouse into reserve forests.

On getting information about the elephant calf and the stray elephants, the Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, Rakesh Chandra Purwar along with the District Forest Officer, Seva Singh rushed to Mettuppalayam with a posse of forest personnel assisted by forest veterinarian Dr N.S. Manoharan.

The team first visited Burliyar on the Mettuppalayam - Udhagamandalam Road a calf was struggling for life . On reaching the spot, they found a just born male calf in a weak and dehydrated condition.

In its search for food and water, the calf had lacerated,all over the body especially near the umbilicus. There were pustules on the body (boil wounds with pusin the body).

Human intervention

The officials felt owing to human intervention, the herd would have got back into the jungles deserting the calf.

Its wounds were cleaned and a team led by Dr Manoharanprovided medical aid. It wasbeing nourished with glucose and ready mix milk powderfor lactating it to make it gain some strength.

The State Minister for Forests, N. Selvaraj, who was going to Udhagamandalam visited the baby elephant along with the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, C.K. Sreedharante.

Two search parties have been pressed into service to locate the herd so that the calf -could be restored to it. If they don't locate the herd, the forest officials are exploring the possibility of shifting the calf to the elephant camp at Mudumalai or Topslip. In the second case, the officials had the tought task of chasing two elephants, a tusk less male pachyderm known as Makhna and a tusker that strayed into a farmhouse full of sugarcane, plantains and coconut.

Way lost

The pachyderms had lost their way in search of food and water and entered the farmhouse near the Mettuppalayam taluk office.

Efforts to put the animals back in their migratory track and push them to the reserve forest were hampered because of a large number of onlookers.

the officials planned to get the elephants back into the reserve forest.

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