ATR (Achanakmar Tiger Reserve) management has decided to grow Napier grass (elephant grass-Pennisetum purpureum) at the reserve for its four captive elephants, as substitute for sugarcane. In the first phase, ATR management has planted 10,000 saplings of Napier grass near Sihawal permanent camp, where the captive jumbos are kept.
Four elephants are being treated by Dr PK Chandan of Bilaspur’s Kanan Pendari Zoo. They are given every kind of feed, but ATR management finds it difficult to arrange sugarcane for them. So, it was decided to grow Napier grass that will be an alternative to sugarcane. WWF recently provided the saplings to ATR management. Napier grass is a protein-rich grass that will help in providing fodder to other elephants. ATR is also going to develop an elephant rescue centre.