Elephant calf no longer in kraal: forest officials (Coimbatore District, India)


Wilson Thomas, The Hindu

Date Published

See link for photo. 

The three-year-old elephant captured from Mangarai in March this year and later taken to Varagaliyar elephant camp was released from kraal more than 45 days ago, claimed Forest Department.

Officials said that the elephant calf is no longer kept in confinement nor taming it into a kumki. They were responding to The Hindu on a recent public interest litigation filed at Madras High Court seeking its direction to refrain Forest Department in taming the calf into a kumki.

According to official sources in Forest Department, the calf was kept in the wooden enclosure only to aid its treatment.

It was treated under the supervision of Forest Veterinary Surgeon N.S. Manoharan and later released on the camp premises itself.

“We have been taking care of the animal as a child after being brought to the camp.

“It is no longer kept in confinement. It freely roams in the forest areas close to the camp and returns to the premises in the evening,” said a forest official.

The calf was captured from Forest Staff Quarters near Mangarai Reserve Forests Rest House on March, 14 after repeated complaints of raiding houses and human habitations at Mangarai, Thadagamn and Kanuvai areas.

The calf was taken to Chadivayal elephant camp where it was treated for the infection in mouth. On April 14, the calf was released into Perumpallam forest of Karamadai range.

After two days, the calf was captured again as it strayed into human habitation near Athimathaiyanur. 

Though the animal was taken to Topslip on April 18 and released in the forest, the calf returned to elephant camp at Varagaliyar where it was kept in kraal for treatment. A recent PIL submitted by Prema Veeraraghavan of Elsa Foundation before the Madras High Court had opposed taming of the calf. Apart from seeking court to restrain the State Government and Forest Department officials from keeping elephants under lifelong captivity as kumkis, the PIL also stated that the calf was relocated to two places without uniting with its natal herd.