Elephant orphanage proposed at Kottoor (Thiruvananthapuram District)


Sarath Babu George, The Hindu

Date Published
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If all goes as per the plan, the State will have its own elephant orphanage in a little over two years’ time.

The Forest and Wildlife Department has embarked on a project to transform the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottoor on the lines of the Pinnawala facility in Sri Lanka, which is a major tourist attraction.

With KIIFB funds

The department has invited e-tenders for the preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for it. While the specifics of the various components could be finalised only after zeroing in on a consultant, the department has prepared a broad outline of the project to be implemented with Rs. 105 crore to be mobilised by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.

Y.M. Shajikumar, Wildlife Warden, Thiruvananthapuram, says the rehabilitation centre spread over 56 hectares will be expanded to 175 hectares by acquiring the adjoining forestland. “The idea is to replicate a natural habitat for elephants allowing movement to a great extent. We also intend to enhance and improve the facilities for visitors. A raised visitors’ gallery, interpretation centre, museum, and various amenities will be set up to help visitors closely observe the elephants,” he said.

While a time frame for the project could be fixed only after finalising the DPR, it will be undertaken in various phases. In all likelihood, work will begin this year.

While elephant camps are operated at Konni, Kodanad, and Muthanga, the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottoor is the largest one in the State. At present, there are 14 elephants at the facility. 

After expansion, the facility will be able to accommodate over 50 elephants, including abandoned captive elephants and captured wild elephants. The centre will also have specialised treatment facilities.

The centre will also serve as a major ecotourism attraction. The Neyyar-Peppara Forest Development Agency has been designated as the special purpose vehicle for the project.