Forest Department to select over 16 elephants for Dasara
- The Forest Department has commenced identifying the elephants that will be part of the Dasara festivities.
- The department is planning to select over 16 of them. Of these, 12 will take part in the Dasara procession while four will be used as back up.
- The department is planning to have at least four pachyderms as substitutes this year as couple of elephants fell sick prior to the Dasara celebrations.
- The idea of having additional elephants this year is to prepare the second line elephants for Dasara as few elephants such as Gajendra and Arjuna had crossed the age of 60 and 56 years respectively.
- Nagaraj, veterinary officer of the Forest Department, told that the department had already identified Ajay, Eshwar and Dhananjay of Dubare camps in addition to the 12 regular elephants for Dasara.
- Apart from these three, the department plans to introduce Drona and Krishna from Thithimathi camp. In 2016, though 12 elephants were picked for Dasara, only 10 participated in the Jumbo Savari as two were unwell. Hence, the department is planning to have keep more elephants as substitutes.
- Dr. Nagaraj said bringing even 20 elephants to the Dasara event was not an issue but accommodating and protecting them was a herculean task.
- After selecting the additional elephants, a letter will be written to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru (Wildlife), seeking permission for the additional elephants. Once he permits the same, additional elephants would be deployed for the Dasara event.
- After obtaining permission both from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and also the Dasara committee, all the elephants would be taken around in the procession route in order to be acclimatised, he said.
- Priests of the Kodi Someshwaraswamy Temple in Mysore Palace have listed few dates (auspicious dates) such as August 2, 4, 6, 10 and 14 for Gaja Payana and the Dasara committee will decide the date on which Gaja Payana should start. The committee, which is expected to meet August 16, will decide whether to bring elephants by vehicle or on foot.
- Meanwhile, Dr. Nagaraj had already examined Arjuna, the elephant that carries the Golden Howdah at Balle elephant camp and the doctor found him fit to carry the 750 kg howdah.
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