Captive elephants enter State registry

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Several details of animals collected in the first-ever elephant census in the State

Eighty-seven-year-old Dakshayani is the grandmother and 9-month-old Kannan the baby among captive elephants in the State.

They were part of the first-ever captive elephant census undertaken across the State a day ago. As many as 521 elephants were enumerated in the massive exercise undertaken by the Forests and Wildlife Department on the basis of a Supreme Court order.

These included 401 male elephants, 98 female elephants, and 22 ‘makhna’ (tusk-less male elephants; also known as ‘mozha’ in local parlance).

Dakshayani, belonging to Chengalloor Sree Mahadeva Temple at Poojappura here, was conferred the ‘Gaja Muthassi’ title by the Travancore Devaswom Board two years ago. Kannan has been sheltered at the elephant rehabilitation camp at Kottoor after it was brought from the Devikulam range in May this year.

Several details pertaining to the elephants, including measurements, permanent shelters, and information of owners and mahouts, were collected during the census. Besides, forest officials also examined various documents, including ownership certificates and registers for recording the elephants’ work, feed, movement, treatment, disease and vaccination, and musth, besides the data-book issued by the department. The microchip embedded in the animals and their DNA profiles were also ascertained.

Many without papers

Sources said many elephants were found maintained without proper documentation. The Supreme Court order had permitted granting provisional certificates in such cases.

The measurements of some elephants could not be recorded as they were found to be in musth.

Head of the Forest Force and Chief Wildlife Warden P.K. Kesavan said, hopefully, the enumeration process covered all captive elephants in the State. “All elephant owners had been informed of the census well in advance. We are confident all elephants in our database have become part of the survey. If at all any elephant was not brought for the census, it will be difficult for the owner concerned to explain the reason for their absence. We will be forced to consider punitive measures in such cases,” he said.

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