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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elephant Camp Mettupalayam

On Sunday 6th January 2013 we decided to drive down to Mettupalayam a busy & crowded town around 30 Kms from Coimbatore located on the foot hills of the Nilgiris. The ghat road to Ooty, the Queen of Hill Stations, begins at Mettupalayam.
The annual elephant camp which is normally held at Ooty has been shifted to Mettupalayam this year. This is an annual rejuvenation camp for elephants drawn mainly from temples across Tamilnadu. A total of 34 elephants reported for the 48 day camp which commenced on November 26 2012. On arrival at the camp a  panel of veterinarians examined the pachyderms for weight and physiological conditions. The animals were given supplements and food to overcome tiredness owing to the journey.
The rejuvenation schedule includes a brisk morning walk on the 650-metre-track along the five-acre stretch of land belonging to the PWD, then a bath using scrubs in the Bhavani river followed by a nutritious, balanced diet, and rest in natural ambiance. Based on the age and weight of each elephant, veterinarians prepared a food chart providing specific quantity of food, fodder and supplements to each animal. Mahouts  would go through an orientation on elephant psychology, behavioral pattern and basic medications.To prevent the entry of wild elephants, the camp site has been provided with solar fencing besides four watch towers, as the camp site is close to reserve forest.

35 comments:

  1. Wow! A camp for elephants! So cool!

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  2. Wow must have been a wonderful experience with so many elephants in close quarters. They are magnificent creatures, strong, sturdy and reliable.

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  3. Nice pics of the elephants. They make me remember my fantastic ride on a female elephant up the hill to Ambert Fort in Jaipur, India. That was the thrill of a lifetime, believe me!

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  4. awww. they deserve spa treatment. :)

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  5. Great shots of the elephants. I'm glad they get some rest and care.

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  6. Very interesting and I thought it sounded like a good deal for the elephants until I saw that they were chained up. What's that about?

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  7. I second Lowell. The Elephant is my favourite animal.

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  8. Oh how nice for them. Wonder why the are chained?

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  9. It would be awesome to see these pachyderms have a great time. Nice post!

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  10. How lovely! I absolutely love elephants, and as you can fathom, I don't get to see any living in a big city like Montreal, so this tour is most appreciated.

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  11. -No Tuskers?

    I really have my doubt about hauling these gentle beasts from far away places for what is called rejuvenation camp.

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    Replies
    1. There were tuskers but none in the forefront which I could photograph. In fact in the second video there is a tusker in the background !

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  12. Glad to know these magnificent creatures owned by temples get medical care. But, how are they transported?

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  13. Great shots of wonderful elephants!
    I wonder too why they are chained up and why some of them have painted marks?

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  14. Happy New Year dear Ram, and cheers to another year of bloggy fun! Love your elephant pix here - they are such amazing creatures - hope to see them in nature one day too!

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  15. I had no idea of this annual camp. I love these elephants.

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  16. Some of you have some queries which I shall attempt to answer:

    Q.1.Why do they have painted marks?
    A.Well these designs on the elephants forehead are made with "Vibhuti" or holy ash.This is a standard Hindu custom/tradition - even people apply designs to their foreheads wit the holy ash.
    Q.2.Why are these elephants chained?
    A.1.These are all elephants belonging to different temples across Tamilnadu.They are be kept chained to a fixed place to identify/differentiate these elephants from one another. 2.Chaining will prevent social interaction between the elephants which can at times turn violent & lead to elephant fights.
    3.The camp where the elephants are located is an open ground surrounded by a big fence with a river on one side and a road on the other side. If the elephants are not chained they may break the fence and run away into the nearby forest or town creating panic to residents.

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  17. Oh there is one more question that needs to be answered.
    Q.How are these elephants transported?
    A.They are transported in large wide bodied open trucks from far away places some as distant as 500-600 Kms. Due to the elephants huge bulk the trucks move slowly and this distance can take upto 18-24 hours to cover. This is torturous on the elephants

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  18. When is the camp closing date?

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    1. Probably by end of this week. If you want to see you need to rush.

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  19. The annual camp used to hold at Mudhumalai, not at Ooty. The photos are wonderful and I loved the last two little ones, looking cute :)

    Fun watching the videos!

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  21. Beautiful.. I liked the short & sweet videos too.. they re-create the ambiance in the mind of the viewers..

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  22. A very interesting post Ram....thank you!

    Happy weekend,
    Ruby

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  23. A camp for elephants! How wonderful. Thanks for the pics and video.

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  24. nice trip...

    thanks for sharing photos

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  25. That's interesting. And it is really nice to know about a camp where the caretakers of the elephants are given some lessons on their psychology and diet and all.
    When I read the headline, I thought the post must be about some place like Theppakkadu or Punnathur Kotta.

    It was only a few days back that I watched a documentary on an elephant and since then, I've been thinking about their mindsets from a new point of view and their relationships with their keepers and others. So it was such a delight to go through this post.

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