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Tusker ‘ Shankar ‘ who killed three to become ‘Kumki’

- January 21, 2022

Chennai, Jan 21 (BPNS)

A 35-year-old tusker, ‘ Shankar’ who was captured at Gudalur as a wild elephant after killing three men will soon become a trained ‘Kumki’ elephant to be used against wild herds.

The elephant is being trained at the Madumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) by a team of mahouts to make him a ‘Kumki’ elephant. The elephant was put in Kral ( wooden enclosure ) on February  2021 at the MTR has come out of it in June after 141 days of being in the Kral.  Ever since he has been undergoing hard training to become a ‘Kumki’ elephant.

To train an elephant, 48 commands are given and according to a mahout who is involved in training the elephant, Shankar was making excellent progress.

Karuppusami Manikantan (43), a mahout at MTR while speaking to BPNS said, “ Shankar was initially a bit reluctant to obey the commands and I can vouch that he is picking up fast and he has already learned 20 commands which is a very positive sign. Hope to complete the training in the next few months and make him prepare for his next assignment as a ‘Kumki’ elephant.”

The training involves raising the trunk, raising a front leg, back leg, and also trampling upon the chain tied on another ‘Kumki’ elephant’s legs, and Shankar, according to the mahouts is doing excellent progress in these areas.

Mahouts also said that generally wild elephants who come out of the Kral misbehaves and was difficult to tame but Shankar has progressed fast and is accepting the training schedule.

The wild tusker who is now getting tamed is being looked after by Dr. Rajesh Kumar who is the Assistant Veterinary Surgeon. He said that the elephant is fed 11 kg of rice, green gram, ragi, coconut, sugarcane, and jaggery twice a week.

It may be noted that the ‘Kumki’ elephants are used for chasing away wild elephants from human settlements and an elephant-like Shankar who was a tough tusker becoming a ‘Kumki’ would help wade off the threat of wild elephants.

While Theppakadu elephant camp and the Kozhikamuthi elephant camp have more than 50 elephants, generally only five to six elephants are used to drive away wild elephants and the’Kumkis’ that are used will be aggressive elephants and Shankar is being trained for that job.