Aged elephants in Kerala, home to a large number of captive elephants that are part of the state's culture, will soon get specialised care for their ailments with the government deciding to set up a geriatric centre for them.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages a large number of temples in southern Kerala, will set up the geriatric care centre. Temple elephants, suffering from various age-related ailments, will be shifted to the geriatric care centre and given special care and treatment under trained mahouts and veterinarians.
The centre had been planned in view of the increasing number of aged elephants and their plight reported from many temples, managed by the board, TDB officials said.
A meeting convened by the TDB and attended by veterinarians and dewaswom officials took a final decision in this regard recently.
A top TDB official said the geriatric care centre would be set up either in Thiruvananthapuram or in a suitable location in central Kerala. "The geriatric care centre is planned to be set up in Thiruvananthapuram or in central Kerala. We are planning to shift aged elephants, kept at TDB temples, to the new centre.
They will be given scientific care and upkeep there," Devaswom Commissioner P Venugopal said.
Mahouts would be given special traning for the upkeep of these elephants as part of the plan, he said. The board has also decided to prepare dossiers for all elephants kept by various temples coming under the TDB. The famous Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple and Eattumanur Mahadeva Temple are among over 1,200 temples managed by the TDB. Elephants are a major attraction of the temple festivals in Kerala with the Thrissur Pooram being the chief among them, witnessed by large number of people including foreigners.