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Kerala forest department issues ID cards for tamed elephants

Thrissur , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 ANI
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Thrissur (Kerala), Mar.29 (ANI): Officials from the Conservator of Forests and Wildlife in Kerala have issued identity cards for domesticated elephants.

These cards depict the pachyderms' photographs and information about physical appearances alongside details of their mahouts and owners, including the temples.

With this programme, Kerala has become the first state in India to have authentic and official identification for elephants.

Henceforth, the mahout or the owner of the elephant would be required to carry these identity cards whenever they take the elephants out for temple festivals, transportation of timber logs in jungles and allied jobs.

Explaining the concept of these ID cards, a veterinarian of the Forest Department, Dr. Sunil Kumar, said the prime aim has been to maintain a complete record and issue a registration certificate for the elephants.

The process of enumeration of elephants has been completed in Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts, and by April first week, the entire state would be covered.

The enumeration process includes taking photographs of the elephant from four different angles, measurement of the tusks, trunk, tail, head, ears and toes and noting down the elephant's name, age, sex and other visible identification marks.

Forest rangers have also recorded assorted physical features of the animal such as the condition of its eyes and ears, medical history, season of Musth (when tuskers become aggressive during mating season) and name of the veterinary doctor who attends to the animal regularly.

This ID card is similar to the Registration Certificate (RC) book carried by vehicle owners and drivers.

One copy will always remain with the owner or mahout so as to assist during illness of the animals, including remedial measures during the Musth period of tuskers.

Elephants are prominently used during many Hindu festivals and celebrations in Kerala. The forest department has set the retirement age for the elephants at 65.

Of the 702 captive elephants in Kerala 118 or less than 17 percent are females.

Among these 118, a majority is reported to have crossed the reproductive age.

Elephants are a protected and endangered species in India. (ANI)

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