Express News Service
CHENNAI: After being chained and cramped in a small concrete shed for nearly 20 years, the Sriperumbudur temple elephant has finally got a spacious new home with a natural pond and lots of trees. Kancheepuram district Forest officials have confirmed that 24-year-old “Kothai” was moved to the facility, spread across a few acres, a month back.
Express had published an article in April, 2019, on the hardships of the elephant housed at the famous Adi Keshava Perumal Temple in Sriperumbudur. In response, the Forest Department issued a notice to temple authorities to comply with the TN Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2001. Born in 1998 at Lakimpur in Assam, Kothai was brought to the Sriperumbudur temple on September 6, 2001.
“Her new home is about one km from the temple. I inspected the facility about 10 days ago. The temple authorities have been asked to install a shower there too,” District Forest Officer KS Sathyamoorthy told Express. In 2019, a video showing Kothai struggling to walk had gone viral on social media.
Subsequently, the Forest department issued a stern warning to the temple authorities and even warned of seizing the elephant if necessary measures were not carried out. Sources said that she is still nursing a leg ailment. However, DFO Sathyamoorthy said that the elephant is healthy now and was recently checked by a veterinarian. “Kothai has just returned from an annual rejuvenation camp.
We have also asked the temple management to put her on a special diet,” he added. Animal rights activist Antony Rubin Clement had filed a petition in Madras High Court based on the Express article seeking Kothai’s rehabilitation. The case is coming up for hearing next Tuesday.