The rejuvenation camps at Mettupalayam, Mudumalai conclude
As the 48-day annual rejuvenation camp for temple elephants at Mettupalayam came to a conclusion on Saturday, the 35 jumbos were sent to their homes with a special set of instructions to their mahouts to ensure that the benefits of the camp remained long-lasting.
To ensure a safe return journey, all the elephants were being escorted by a team of veterinarians and other personnel. The drivers have been told not to speed over 40 km per hour and were asked to take an hour-long break every 50 to 60 km. The vehicles were also stocked with adequate fodder for the elephants.
The major benefit of this camp, a senior veterinarian said, was that the opportunity for socialisation that it provided to the elephants. Apart from having a calming effect, it offered a positive change from their routines.
Among the major health issues tackled in the camp was the ‘above average’ weight and foot ailments. Several follow-up measures such as diets and exercises were prescribed and the mahouts were told to follow them even after returning to their temples. The digestive issues of some elephants were also addressed.
According to officials, all elephants would reach their temples/mutts by Sunday night.
Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) M.S.M. Anandan, Commissioner for HR and CE P. Dhanapal, Collector M. Karunagaran, Mayor S.M. Velusamy and Joint Commissioner for HR and CE M. Pugazhendiran were present to see off the elephants along with local MLAs.
Some of the elephants showed reluctance to board the vehicles. The camp, which began on November 26 last, was organised by the departments of HR and CE and Animal Husbandry in collaboration with Public Works Department (PWD) and Forest Department. The venue was a piece of five-acre land that belonged to the PWD near Vanabadrakaliamman Temple near Mettupalayam.
The only sore point of this camp was the demise of 57-year-old Bhavani of the Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram barely hours before the camp began. She died at the camp site in Mettupalayam near Coimbatore.
Special Correspondent from Udhagamandalam adds
The rest and restoration camp for captive elephants at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here concluded on Saturday.
Speaking to The Hindu , the Deputy Director, MTR, A. Ameer Haja said that the camp lasted 48 days and benefited 25 camp elephants. During the camp, elephant safaris had been put on hold and the pachyderms including seven females had been provided with specially prepared nutritious food and diet supplements.
Expert veterinary care had also been given to them. Stating that their health status had been constantly monitored, he said that their condition would be evaluated on Sunday when even elephant safaris and patrolling would resume.
Pointing out that booking for safaris had resumed a couple of days ago, Mr. Haja said that the demand was good. Stating that since Christmas the flow of tourists has been good, he said that on an average about 1,000 tourists were visiting the reserve every day. It is likely to increase during the extended Pongal weekend. Arrangements are apace to celebrate Maattu Pongal on January 15.
However the extremely dry condition on account of the lack of rain has become a serious source of concern. For the past about one week troughs in Theppakadu, Kargudi and nearby areas are being filled with water transported through tankers.
A special puja was also performed for the recovery of Ranga, an elephant calf that has been ailing for the past few weeks.