Tame elephants to keep poachers at bay
Udhagamandalam: The kumki (working) elephants of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve near here which have over the decades played a significant role in spreading the name of the sanctuary far and wide have of late been entrusted with the additional responsibility of keeping poachers at bay.
Long considered the pride of Mudumalai, the kumkis have now become an integral part of the anti-poaching operations.
Pointing out that for the past few weeks the kumkis have been a source of strength to the anti-poaching staff, the Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Rajeev Kumar Srivastava told The Hindu that with the pachyderms in the vanguard it makes it easy for the staff to penetrate even areas covered with dense forests.
Their presence is particularly useful during heavy rains. While on the one hand the use of the kumkis makes it possible to enter even the inaccessible areas where usually the poachers strike, on the other it provides the elephants the necessary exercise and fresh green fodder.
Stating that ten trained elephants are now being used in the operations, Mr.Srivastava said that on each trip four animals with mahouts, forest guards and tribal anti-poaching watchers are sent.
Every trip is closely monitored with the help of maps and communication equipment.
Pointing out that the base camps are carefully selected, he said that often the routes to be taken are revealed only at the last moment.
Yet another benefit was that by flattening the undergrowth, the elephants brought down the chances of bush fires breaking out during the dry seasons.