Retired IFS officer’s take on Wild Gopala Bhaktha
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Retired IFS officer’s take on Wild Gopala Bhaktha

December 17, 2017

Sir,

Media reports say that a wild elephant is frequenting the temple at Gopalaswamy Betta near Gundlupet and the Forest Department is driving it back to forests. From the elephant’s behaviour, body structure, food habits, unperturbed by the presence of people etc., suggests that it is not wild at all and will come back to temple for prasadam.

There may be several indicators to prove and conclude that it is not wild. Close observations of its legs may show scratches or hardened skin round the ankle, due to the use of iron chains to keep them tied.

The ears may show some cuts or the head may show some scratches or pierce marks of “Ankusha” the  mahout’s driving rod. The body is bulk/ bloating, with thin legs indicating that this elephant has walked less but fed well. May be kept tied up always.

There are instances in Kerala that a few domesticated elephants of timber contractors and temples were let loose in nearby forests stealthily, in and around Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. This may be one of them and it looks aged also.

Elephants live in herds and tuskers may not leave the herd and herds would follow the tusker. This isolated elephant must be a domesticated one let-loose. The best option appears to be to tranquillise it and admit to the nearest elephant camp.

– Dr. K.A. Kushalapa,  IFS (Retd), Mysuru, 16.12.2017

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