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Tamil Nadu - Udhagamandalam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

100 years: Theppakadu Elephant Camp going strong

D. Radhakrishnan

Arrangements made to commemorate the occasion

Photo: Special Arrangement

A milestone:Training in progress at the Theppakadu Elephant Camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, near Udhagamandalam.

Udhagamandalam: Long considered to be one of the most important features of the 321 sq. km Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here, the Theppakadu Elephant Camp is set to cross a major milestone.

Having come into being in 1910, the camp is now in its centenary year and elaborate arrangements are being made to commemorate the occasion in a fitting manner.

The MTR which was until a couple of years ago called the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the important wildlife reserves in the country and figures high on the list of tourist attractions in the Blue Mountains.

Though nature has been lavish in providing the reserve with thickly wooded hills, plateaus, deep valleys, rivers, streams, waterfalls and marshes and it is rich in wildlife, the elephant camp has always been a great draw with visitors flocking to it especially at feeding and puja time.

The tourists find it interesting and educative to see the tamed pachyderms being fed and bathed.

Pointing out that the camp which had been formed for the elephants used by timber traders prior to the government taking over the forests is one of the oldest in the country, the Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director, MTR, Rajiv K. Srivastava told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the centenary celebrations would be held along with the Wildlife Week celebrations in October.

Stating that the Wildlife veterinarian Kalaivanan has been entrusted with the task of bringing out a book containing details pertaining to the camp, he said that apart from the history it would have profiles of elephants which have been part of the camp over the years.

Information on how they had rendered service would also be furnished.

Special mention would be made of Moorthy, a makhna (tuskless male) which has been converted into a camp elephant from a much feared killer elephant.

Stating that there are now 14 males, six females, two makhnas and two calves, Mr. Srivastava said that the camp is being used to take visitors on rides which will give them a feel of the wild and also monsoon patrolling.

The kumkis (working elephants) do a variety of jobs.

Adverting to the significant contribution of the tribal mahouts (elephant men) in the successful running of the camp, he said that during the celebrations their services would be recognised.

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