Mysore Palace elephant mahout falls to death
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Mysore Palace elephant mahout falls to death

July 9, 2019

Mysuru: A mahout of Mysore Palace elephant Ruby died after he fell from the elephant yesterday. 

He was taking the elephant on a walk. The deceased has been identified as 38-year-old Kalappa and he was admitted to K.R. Hospital as he had sustained severe injuries. 

Kalappa is a native of Hosahalli village in H.D. Kote taluk and he has been working as the mahout since many years.

He fell from Ruby near Brahmapuri Gate. The body was later shifted to MMC&RI mortuary. A case has been registered at Devaraja Police Station.

Six female elephants in Palace

The Mysore Palace houses six female elephants — Ruby, Rajeshwari, Gemini, Chanchala, Seetha and Preethi.

The elephants were rescued from Gemini Circus about 20 years ago following a Court order and the Court had ordered the Forest Department to take over the elephants. 

Following this, the then scion of Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar had volunteered to take care of the elephants and accordingly, they were sent to the Palace. 

The elephants were one of the main tourist attractions inside the Palace and they were being used for “elephant safari” where tourists had an opportunity to ride on them and experience royalty.

In February 2017, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar wrote to the then Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) V. Karikalan to take back three elephants and the officer had suggested Pramoda Devi to write to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) following which, she sent a letter on Mar. 5. She again wrote to the PCCF on Mar. 9 stating that the Palace will take care of Chanchala, Preethi and Seetha and they will be utilised for the “elephant safari”. She had asked the Department to take back the other three elephants. 

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Following her request, the PCCF had directed Department Veterinarian Dr. D.N. Nagaraj to certify the health of elephants and the Vet in his report had stated that the elephants were healthy and could be taken over by the Forest Department and shifted to elephant camps.

Department dithers

An administrative approval from the Forest Department to shift three elephants back to forests was caught in files, red tape and lack of attention by the official machinery. 

Also, the Department that had agreed to shift the three elephants earlier wanted its maintenance to be taken care of by the Palace and did not take the three elephants, sources said. 

The elephants are now being used for “elephant safari” inside the Palace with not much of activities.

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