Pet elephants for tourism promotion in Simlipal
Baripada, Nov 4: Safely ensconced on the back of elephants, tourists in Simlipal will have the first taste of joyride to some selected natural spots during the current tourism season.
Field Director Debabrata Swain said yesterday two pet cow elephants- Sova (50) and Bhawani (49), both nearly seven feet tall, would soon be commissioned for tourism promotion in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR).
The 'houdahs' to be fixed on the back of Sova and Bhawani are ready for providing a comfortable seat to the tourists, he said, adding that there would also be a pavilion to facilitate the tourist to reach the houdah and sit on it.
Mr Swain said the tourists would be taken on an elephant ride from Jamuani to Rajupal where there is a natural salt lake and they could see wild animals like the Indian bison, sambars and spotted deer during their brief visit to this natural spot.
Not far from this place, there is a place of historical importance called Kundagarh, that looks like dilapidated ruins of ancient fort. Legend have it that a section of the British army used to stay here in a camouflaged condition during the second World War(1939-45).
The densely wooded Simlipal forests with thick, green foliage of the evergreen Sal provided an ideal transit camp for the British army.
The two pet cow elephants are now stationed in the Khairi compartment No 14 and 19 and put on patrolling duty near Khejuri to combat poaching and timber smuggling. The STR will be charging Rs 200 for each tourist for a trip from Jamuani to Rajupal.
The eight-foot-tall bull elephant Mahendra (41) and Rajkumar - the five-year-old male calf of Bhawani, stationed at Bhandan Compartment number 4 and 8 would continue their anti- poaching and countering of timber smuggling jobs, Mr Swain said.
The bull-Mahendra and the cows-Sova and Bhawani, were purchased by the STR in December, 2001, from the Wild Life Division of the Karnataka government.
During their stay in the ''elephant camp'' at Jenabil, Bhawani gave birth to the male calf - Rajkumar, in October 2002 on the Kumar Purnima, hence he was christened as ''Rajkumar''.