KERALA

Forest Department comes to the rescue of elephant

CHAINED TO MISERY: The elephant Manikantan chained on the premises of Sree Raktakantaswami Temple at Omalloor near Pathanamthitta.

CHAINED TO MISERY: The elephant Manikantan chained on the premises of Sree Raktakantaswami Temple at Omalloor near Pathanamthitta.  

Manikantan kept in chains for 14 months

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: Manikantan, an elephant kept in chains for the past 14 months, may find solace, as the Forest Department has decided to come to his rescue. The 40-year-old elephant is of Sree Raktakantaswami Temple at Omalloor near here.

The pachyderm has been in chains on the temple premises after he killed a mahout in a mad frenzy and showed signs of rut.

The department has directed the Travancore Devaswom Board authorities to take immediate steps to provide medical care and food supplements to the malnourished elephant without delay. A team of forest officials, led by Konni Forest Range Officer Shajikumar, visited the ailing elephant recently.

The wounds formed on the legs of the elephant by the steel chains have become ulcers. It is alleged that the Devaswom Board has not ensured proper care of the elephant, the health of which has been badly affected. There are allegations that the Board has not extended the service of trained mahouts to look after the elephant.

However, the Board authorities at Omalloor say three mahouts have been posted to attend to Manikantan.

Manikantan was offered to Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala by the film actress K.R. Vijaya. It has been the temple elephant at Omalloor for the past 21 years.

The elephant had turned violent many times in the past and had crushed to death four persons, including two mahouts, during the past one decade. The latest incident was the killing of the mahout Gopi at Manjanikkara on April 8, 2004.

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