Bomman and Bellie, the two human protagonists showcased in Oscar-winning Indian documentaryThe Elephant Whisperers, met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin at the Secretariat in Chennai on Wednesday.
Mr. Stalin wished the couple well, and presented them with a cheque of ₹1 lakh each, along with a citation. He also felicitated them with a shawl, an official statement said.
The Chief Minister has also ordered the payment of ₹1 lakh each to all the 91 mahouts and cavadis at the Mudumalai and Anamalai elephant camps in Tamil Nadu. The funds will be distributed from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. Mr. Stalin has also announced funding assistance of ₹9.10 crore for the construction of houses for the mahouts and cavadis.
New elephant camp in Coimbatore district
The Tamil Nadu government also announced setting up of a new elephant camp at Sadivyal in Coimbatore district at a cost of ₹8 crore. Further, a sum of ₹5 crore has been sanctioned towards improvement of the Kozhikamuthi Elephant Camp at Anaimalai Tiger Reserve.
Tamil Nadu Forest Minister M. Mathiventhan, Chief Secretary Irai Anbu, and Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Environment, Supriya Sahu were among the other higher officials present.
“Love, respect and gratitude to Bellie and Bomman, our unsung heroes. A humble tribute to all our Mahouts and Cavadis for taking care of our precious elephants like Raghu and Ammu,” Ms. Sahu said in a Twitter post after the felicitation by the Chief Minister.
“Overjoyed and so proud to see Bomman and Bellie honoured by our Chief Minister M K Stalin,” Kartiki Gonsalves, the director of the documentary said in a Twitter post.