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Plan to provide periodical check up for temple elephants

Staff Reporter
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A team of veterinarians to visit temples to monitor their health

Commissioner for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P. Dhanapal (right) discussing the health of a temple elephant with forest veterinarian N.S. Manoharan at the elephant rejuvenation camp near Mettupalayam on Thursday.— Photo: Karthik Madhavan
Commissioner for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P. Dhanapal (right) discussing the health of a temple elephant with forest veterinarian N.S. Manoharan at the elephant rejuvenation camp near Mettupalayam on Thursday.— Photo: Karthik Madhavan

To ensure that the temple elephants stay in good health, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department will initiate steps to provide periodical check up and treatment for the animals, Commissioner P. Dhanapal told reporters at the Thekkampatty elephant rejuvenation camp in Mettupalayam on Thursday.

He said that the Department would arrange a team of veterinarians who would visit the temples, say once in three or four months, to monitor the health of the elephants. This was to ensure that the elephants were hale and healthy.

Whatever the animals gained in the last 18 days of the camp and they would gain in the next 30 days were not lost, when they go back to the temples.

Mr. Dhanapal, who was accompanied by Joint Commissioner, HR and CE, Coimbatore, M. Pugalendran, said that he was happy to see a remarkable change in elephants.

“One of the things I have noticed is that almost all elephants have started spraying sand, which was not the case on Day One. This is a sign of joy and happiness, as the veterinarians say.”

“The elephants did not spray sand on the first day, having been used to standing on floor in temples,” he added.

As forest veterinarian N.S. Manoharan had said elephants were very social and friendly animals and that they bond easily. This camp had established just that.

The camp had also served an opportunity for the mahouts to get to know each other.

Proposal

Given the elephants’ love for being in groups, the Department would positively consider the proposal to let the three temple elephants in Tiruchi meet and bond with one another.

To the mahouts, the Commissioner had a word of advice: do not revert to unhealthy practices. Give food and medicine as per Mr. Manoharan’s prescription, walk the elephants almost every day and ensure that the elephants get to stand on at least a foot of sand and not on hard surfaces.

“I must see the elephants in the same healthy condition at the start of the next camp,” he said.

This was the fifth such camp the Government of Tamil Nadu conducted.

All the four camps were successful and so would this one be.

This success could be gauged from the fact that the Puducherry Government had also sent one of its temple elephants for the camp.

Mr. Manoharan asked the mahouts to keep the elephants healthy.

The officials later distributed uniforms to the mahouts.

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