Jumbo plans for Muthanga camp

To be developed as a training centre for captive elephants

September 18, 2018 12:49 am | Updated 11:55 am IST - KALPETTA

 The new members of the ‘kumki’ squad of the Forest and Wildlife Department.

The new members of the ‘kumki’ squad of the Forest and Wildlife Department.

The Forest and Wildlife Department is planning to develop the Muthanga elephant kraal here into a major training camp for captive elephants as part of mitigating man-animal conflict in the State.

The camp would be set up on 30 hectares of forestland under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary near the kraal, said N.T. Sajan, Warden of the sanctuary. It would have the facility to train and accommodate 12 elephants at a time.

Giving impetus to the upgrade move, three ‘kumki’ (trained) elephants were brought to the kraal two days ago after a three-month training at the Theppakadu elephant training camp in Tamil Nadu. With this, the number of ‘kumkis’ in the kraal has gone up to five.

The trio — Surya, 24, from the Muthanga elephant camp; Neelakandan, 22, from the Abhayaranyam elephant training and rescue centre, Kodanad; and Surendran, 17, from the Konni camp — were shifted to the Theppakadu training camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve for training on June 14.

Lessons imparted

This was the first time elephants from the State were sent to another State for training.

“The elephants were trained in operations such as managing marauding elephants, including arresting and leading such elephants during an operation; assisting in kraal making; boarding and alighting a forest ambulance; and parading,” Mr. Sajan said.

For mahouts, vets

“They were also provided wild area exposure and training in tackling wild elephants.” The other kumki elephants under the department are Pramugha and Kunju of the Muthanga elephant camp.

Seven mahouts — two from Muthanga, two from Konni and three from Kodanadu — were also trained in elephant management, he said.

Besides them, five veterinary doctors and three protective staff of the department were given training. The department spent ₹14.50 lakh for the training programme.

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