Harangi Elephant Camp takes shape
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Harangi Elephant Camp takes shape

March 21, 2022

To be ninth in Karnataka; third in Kodagu

Madikeri: Works are in full swing to set up the third Elephant Camp in Kodagu at Harangi. The State Government has released Rs. 50 lakh for the project that is expected to ease the burden of the existing elephant camps.

Already, Kodagu has two elephant camps, one at Dubare and another at Mathigodu near Anechowkur Gate that borders Mysuru. There are eight elephant camps in Karnataka including the two in Kodagu and the Harangi Camp will be the ninth in the State.

The eight jumbo camps house more than 100 tamed elephants that are used to rescue wild animals and for logging purposes at Government timber depots. The new elephant camp is expected to reduce the burden on the nearby Dubare Elephant Camp, which currently has over 31 elephants, the highest in the State.

90 percent works complete

Over 90 percent of the works have been completed at the Harangi Elephant Camp and interestingly, the Camp houses a Tree Park, also in the same vicinity. From 2017 till 2021-22 Rs.1.38 crore has been released by the Government and works are on to create the Tree Park.

The Forest Department is establishing the elephant camp in a 40-acre land at Athur Reserve Forest beside Harangi Reservoir in Kushalnagar Taluk. The place, located near the Harangi Dam backwaters, is ideal to set up the elephant camp. The camp per se is eight to 20 acres. The Athur Range Forest extends up to 2,000 acres and it is an ideal elephant habitat with plenty of water and green swathes.

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Four houses have been constructed for the mahouts and their families to stay, a vast kitchen has been constructed to prepare food for the elephants and store rooms has also been constructed. Basic facilities including toilets have been constructed for tourists who come there.

Abundant water source

Borewells have been sunk to provide a steady stream of water and as the land comes near the Harangi Dam backwaters, there is no shortage of groundwater. Electricity works are on now at the camp and enough care is being taken to ensure that the forest area is not damaged while erecting the power poles and when the power lines are drawn.

The funds for the camp have been released from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). Apart from setting up a new elephant camp, there are plans to initiate other related development programmes including developing the camp as a tourist centre and at the same time provide shelter to the elephants.

Other tourism projects

The Government has also plans to closely develop Cauvery Nisargadhama in Kushalnagar and together with the new elephant camp in the region, the initiatives are set to boost eco-tourism activities.

Kushalnagar Range Forest Officer J. Ananya Kumar told Star of Mysore that once the Harangi Elephant Camp works are completed, five elephants will be shifted from Dubare Elephant Camp to immediately ease the burden. Later, 15 more jumbos will be shifted in phases. Appointment of staff and doctors will be decided by the State Government.

Among the State Government plans to improve tourism in Harangi are water sports on behalf of Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Jet Ski and para-sailing. The Kodagu District Administration is weighing various options for tourism promotion once the Harangi Elephant Camp is fully established.

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