Pradeep Pattanayak

Until you see for yourself how some wild elephants are living a disciplined life in a training centre located inside a deep forest on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, you can’t believe it. 

Welcome to Chandaka-Damapada Sanctuary. After travelling some distance, you will reach Kumarkhanti where the training centre for the world’s largest land animal is located. 

In the centre, six elephants are receiving Kumki training. All these jumbos were separated from their herds, due to one reason or the other. 

These elephants were rescued by the Forest Department when they were wandering alone, causing fear among people. 

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But these pachyderms are no longer violent.

The elephants in the centre have their names. They are Mama, Chandu, Kartik, Master Jaga and vicious Shankar. 

“When the Forest department rescues elephant calves from wells or ditches, their mothers don’t accept them. Those calves have been owned by the department,” said Sarat Chandra Behera, Chandaka DFO. 

“Our aim is to use these trained elephants to tame the wild elephants,” he added. 

Training Session 

Their morning starts with a walk. Then they do some exercises. Trained mahouts of Odisha and Assam have been employed to train them. The way they are obeying the commands of mahouts and displaying their skills will leave anyone amazed. 

Starting from raising their trunks in the air to standing on a small boulder with four legs on it, they do everything with utmost precision. 
After the training session, they are taken to Kumarakhanti Dam where they enjoy their time to the fullest. 

“Jaga was captured from the Similipal forest. As children are taught various things from an early stage, we are also teaching him several things,” said a mahout. 

Thereafter, their most favourable time arrives. They are taken to the restaurant meant for them. Each of them has an assigned space with their names written on them. 

What They Eat 

An elephant eats six kilograms of wheat, five kilograms of rice, one kilogram of green gram, one kilogram of horse gram, some millets, two to three kilograms of vegetables, four coconuts, some bananas and 500 grams of jaggery. 

All the corns are cooked in a special kitchen and then, the vegetables, fruits and jaggery are added. The mixture is hand-rolled into ball shapes and they are given to the elephants. 

“The elephants are taken to their respective place. They stand there in a disciplined way. Their respective mahouts feed them,” said Soumyaranjan Beura, forester, Chandaka. 

In the afternoon, they play football. By the time the sun goes down the horizon, they become fully tired. The mahouts take them to their respective sheds for them to retire for the night. 

The next day, the same routine is followed. 

Once they are fully trained, they will prove to be most beneficial for the Forest Department. These trained Kumki elephants will be used to drive wild animals straying into human habitats away into the forest.

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