Image of reunited elephant calf’s nap with mother in T.N.’s Anamalai Tiger Reserve wins hearts

The calf was found separated from its herd on December 29, 2023; Forest Department staff found the herd with the help of drones and reunited the baby elephant with its mother

January 03, 2024 01:30 pm | Updated January 04, 2024 01:12 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The rescued elephant calf was spotted taking a nap with  its mother in the middle of a tea plantation in Valparai

The rescued elephant calf was spotted taking a nap with its mother in the middle of a tea plantation in Valparai | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Four days after the Tamil Nadu Forest Department reunited a stranded elephant calf with its herd in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), field staff tasked to monitor the pachyderms had a rewarding moment that will be etched in their memories forever. 

The elephant trackers found the calf sleeping with its mother in the middle of a tea plantation near Valparai, a photograph of which is winning hearts in the country, and across the border.

The photo went viral after Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forest, Tamil Nadu, shared it on X (formerly Twitter), late on Tuesday, January 2, 2024. 

It was on December 29, that staff of the Manambolly forest range of ATR found the elephant calf separated from its herd at Pannimedu estate. They rescued the calf and launched a search for the herd. With the help of drones, the staff traced the herd around 3 km away. 

They immediately took the elephant calf to the spot, gave it a shower and applied mud on the calf to reduce the human imprint, before releasing it near the herd.

Watch | Why is this elephant habitat in Nilgiris under threat?

The calf reunited with its mother and it was then seen with the herd of 10 elephants later. ATR authorities tasked four teams to monitor the calf and herd further. It was one of these teams who came across the sleeping mother-and-calf-duo on Tuesday. 

The herd is among one of the several that are currently foraging in the mosaic landscape of estates and fragmented forest patches in the Valparai plateau, which is contiguous with forests in Kerala. The plateau is currently witnessing the peak of the annual migration of elephants, with around 100 of them regularly being spotted in private estates alone.

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