‘Killer’ elephant tamed at MTR camp (India)


B Ravichandran, Deccan Chronicle

Date Published


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Chinnakomban, a tusker aged 15, shocked the hills when it roamed in a rampaging mood in Pandalur taluk early April and killed two persons. It was a challenging time for foresters as they and ‘kumki’ elephants braved the odds and captured it on April 4 night.  

It was shifted to kumki elephant camp at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) and kept within a ‘kraal’ all these days.

The jumbo is now behaving well and has already learnt a few  words of “yaanai bashai’ (language used for tamed elephants) to respond to mahouts’ commands.

While it is welcome for onlookers to see the once dreaded jumbo trying to strengthen its bond of friendship with human care takers, MTR officials said it may spend a few more weeks inside the kraal to completely transform itself from wild mood to domesticated one.

Kullan, a mahout training the pachyderm said Chinnakomban has learnt a few yaanai-bashai like “Betha” (meaning see this side) and “Vidhath”(go back) and responding well to the commands now.  

V.A.Saravanan, Deputy Director of MTR. said the elephant camp has already proved its expertise in moulding a few captured wild jumbos, including three captured during Operation Malai at Tiruvannamalai in 2013, into kumkis.

The elephant would walk out free once the veterinary team gives its nod for release from kraal to join other kumki elephants in the camp. This may take a few weeks, he said.