Thiruvananthapuram

Elephant centre to receive visitors from today

From a distance: As per new guidelines, only 20 persons will be allowed to come close to the elephant enclosures at the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kappukad, Kottoor. A file photo of the calves having fun at the centre.  

On Saturday, the Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Kottoor will welcome visitors after a gap of seven months. The Forest Department has laid down guidelines to streamline entry to the premises that house 15 elephants rescued from various parts of the State.

The State-run facility has been nurturing elephants of various age groups, ranging from the one-year-old Sreekutty, rescued from the Ambanad estate in Kollam last year, to the 78-year old ‘retired’ elephant Soman, the oldest captive elephant in the State.

The centre has remained closed since March when the COVID-19-induced lockdown had come into effect. The authorities stepped up surveillance after news emerged of several animals testing positive for the infection in the Bronx Zoo in New York.

Guidelines

According to Agasthyavanam Biological Park deputy warden N.V. Satheesan, entry will be permitted from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all people except children aged below 10 years. Groups should not exceed five people.

Visitors will not be permitted to touch the elephants. Only a maximum of 20 people will be allowed to come in close proximity with the four elephant enclosures at the same time. With visits being restricted to two hours for each visitor, only 50 visitors will be allowed to enter the centre at a time, Mr. Satheesan said .

Not all services will resume from the first day. While bamboo rafting will remain suspended, visitors can go on the 3-km trek to Kizhakkumalappara, the official said.

The reopening will bring much succour to the members of the eco-development committee (EDC) who guide visitors through the premises and man the canteen. The 24 employees will work in shifts as batches of 12 for 15 days a month. They were being paid wages for 10 days during the lockdown period when they could not report for work.

The centre was teeming with visitors during the pre-lockdown period. It generally attracted tourists who would also drop by the deer rehabilitation centre and the crocodile park under the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary before concluding leisure trips.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 12:10:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/elephant-centre-to-receive-visitors-from-today/article32931951.ece

Next Story