A unique scheme has been launched by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department which will enable people to adopt old and retired elephants in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Under the scheme, the retired elephants will be given in adoption for a day, week, month or year from Rs 500 for a day to Rs 1.50 lakh for a year. Two elephants Gautam (74-year old) and Toofan (69-year old) along with 13 other elephants in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve are being given for adoption.
According to Principal Chief Secretary of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, Alok Kumar, the Forest Department has initiated the scheme with the objective to reconnect the tourists and wildlife lovers with the elephants which take them on joy rides during sightseeing and also to generate funds for the maintenance of elephants amidst the pandemic.
The week-long Hathi Mahotsav in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve began this week on Monday. During the Hathi Mahotsav, the elephants in the Reserve will be provided a break from their routine work. “The rejuvenation camp for elephants began on Monday, giving them a break from their routine work. These elephants help us with patrolling, tracking and other routine works all the year round. Now, we will serve them throughout the week during Hathi Mahotsav”, said the Field Director of the Reserve, Vincent Rahim.
Vincent said that the Reserve has been affected by the intrusion of 35 elephants from Chhattisgarh and the visitors are concerned about the presence of wild elephants for over a year. He added that the adoption programme will enhance the connection with the 15 special elephants and will reduce people’s concern.
Special training programmes are also being conducted to train the forest guards, guides and villagers to deal with wild elephants and to pacify them without hurting.