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Abandoned elephant calf reunited with herd

Special Correspondent
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The elephant calf that was reunited with the herd by the forest officials on Tuesday.—Photo: Special Arrangement
The elephant calf that was reunited with the herd by the forest officials on Tuesday.—Photo: Special Arrangement

Forest officials after a nearly one-and-a-half-day long efforts managed to reunite a 25 to 30 day old male elephant calf after it was found abandoned in the fringe area of the reserve forest near the backwaters of Bhavanisgar dam catchment area in Sirumugai range.

Following information from the villagers about a male elephant calf in a very weak condition on Monday, Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, V.T. Kandasamy, and District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu deputed a team of forest officials led by Sirumugai Range Officer C. Dinesh Kumar.

Officials tried to energise the calf by feeding it with milk. The calf that had almost starved for more than eight hours took only very little milk. Officials took the calf into the reserve forest and left it near a herd. But, it came out. Officials again took the calf inside the forest and left it near another herd, which had seven elephants and two sub-adults. The calf did not return and the officials are confident that it had reunited with its herd. The entire operation was planned in such a way that the calf never contracted any human scent from the forest personnel or villagers. Normally, human scents on calves lead to rejection by the herd.

Villagers reported sighting of a herd in the area on that night confirming that the herd had taken back the calf with it. Forest officials said that calf would have got isolated when the herd to which it belonged was chased by a carnivore. On December 14 in 2010, a new-born calf was abandoned by its mother in Mettupalayam. The mother along with the herd was camping in that area close to Odanthurai.

Officials pointed out that disturbances caused by beating of drums could have resulted in the mother getting disturbed while it was delivering the calf. Later, the calf was sent to Aringar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur in Chennai.

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