Bengaluru: While the Dasara celebrations will be held in a simple manner this year too, elephants will now need COVID negative test report to participate in the celebrations.
It is not just the elephants, but even Mahouts, Kavadis, Dasara Organising Committee members and officials should have a negative RT-PCR test report to participate in the festivities.
Last year too, the elephants were tested when they were brought to Mysuru and instead of the usual 13-14 elephants, only five elephants — Abhimanyu (who carried the Golden Howdah), Gopi, Vikram, Cauvery and Vijaya — participated.
This year, the Forest Department officials, veterinarians and officials from Mysuru District Administration have decided to go to the camps and do the testing.
The officials will go to elephant camps in Mysuru and Kodagu districts and check the health of these five elephants. Once their medical reports show they are healthy and their COVID-19 test reports are negative, the final list of elephants that will participate in the Dasara-2021 celebrations will be prepared, a senior Forest Department official said.
The officials want to undertake a health check-up of all the elephants before the Mysuru Dasara Committee holds a meeting to decide on the preparedness in early September.