Jumbo makes no splash

Just buckets of water for a jumbo bath?

Just buckets of water for a jumbo bath?  

SEVEN-YEAR-OLD INDIRA has everything except water. She is the female pachyderm housed at the Children's Park, Guindy.

When she was born at Mudumalai she used to play in the river along with her cousins from both wild and training camps. She had enjoyed playing in the water, splashing it around for a couple of hours everyday.

Well, it is a different story at the park. She has to be content with 10 buckets of water for bathing. One consolation is that she can bathe twice a day.

Actually, a bathing ghat to wash elephants was constructed at the park long ago. As the park authorities are very judicious in using the water, the ghat cannot be filled everyday. Moreover, as the ghat has no outlet, it is difficult to store the water. While bathing the animal, if the animal answers a call of nature, the same water cannot be stored for a couple of days and used again.

For Indira, the day begins with the cleaning of her enclosure by her master Maran after which she will go for a walk inside the park for about half-an-hour.

After the bath, she gets ready to have her breakfast, which has high nutritional value. A porridge is prepared with gingelly oil, coconut, sugarcane, jaggery and ragi which is then made into a huge ball and fed to her.

Soon after the breakfast, she goes back to her enclosure where she is provided with green grass, fodder and occasionally sugarcane.

Earlier, the pachyderm was taken into the Guindy National Park (GNP) during morning hours where she used to feed on natural bamboo, other leaves and tree barks.

But after the felling of a sandalwood tree inside the GNP, the authorities have decided not to allow the mahout and the animal into the park.

By Oppili P.

Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

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