Coimbatore, Feb 10, 2017: An annual month long rejuvenation camp commenced for temple elephants began with much exhilaration along the Bhavani near Badrakaliamman Temple in Mettupalayam on Thursday. A total of 32 temple elephants, including two from Puducherry, are participating, while another two are expected to arrive at the camp in the next few days.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Commissioner M Veera Shanmuga Moni inaugurated the camp by feeding banana and pineapple to a pachyderm at 8.30 am. Massini, the youngest female elephant participating in the camp is the centre of attraction At Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in 2007, she was abandoned by her mother. She was rescued by the Forest Department. She was maintained in Theppakkadu elephant camp at MTR in Udhagamandalam district. She was handed over to Samayapuram Mariyamman Temple in Tiruchy last year, after a four-month training in November 2015 at Chadivayal elephant camp in Coimbatore.
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“This is the ninth year of the camp, conducted to improve mental health and physical behaviour of all temple elephants. For those elephants that are unable to attend the camp here, instructions have been given to provide special food at their respective places and their health monitored by a local veterinarian. Special classes would be conducted to mahouts and Kavadis on giving the best care to the pachyderms,” stated Moni.
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A balanced diet enriched with flattened rice, turmeric, salt, dates, jaggery, rice, horse gram, green gram and a variety of green fodder along with fruits and sugarcane will be provided to the elephants.
Sivakami, owned by Sri Thiruthalinathar Swamy Temple, Thiruppathur in Sivaganga district, was treated for a wound on its leg. “Four teams have been formed to check the animals’ health on a shift basis over the next one month. Fresh dung samples will be collected on Friday morning to detect diseases in animals,” stated T Tamilselvan, Regional Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry.
Lakshmi from Manakula Vinayagar Temple in Puducherry reached on Thursday evening, while Prakruthi from Dharbaranyeswarar Temple at Thirunallar arrived at the camp in the night. Ramalakshmi, owned by Arulmigu Ramanthaswamy Thirukoil, and Kothai from Adikesavan Perumal Thirukoil, Sriperumbudur, were not able to attend the camp due to temple festivals. Though, they are expected in the coming days.
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In order to safeguard the camp site from wild elephants, measures have been taken. “Most of the camp site, spread over nearly nine acres, is surrounded by a hanging solar fence, solar fence and steel fence. Also five watch towers have been set up,” said S Ramasubramaniam, District Forest Officer in Coimbatore. Public visiting hours are between 10 am to 12 pm.
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