Jumbo rehabilitated  at Sakrebailu

Aiyyappa, an elephant which was deserted in an estate near Chikmagalur has been rehabilitated at Sakrebailu. Photo:Shimoga Yogaraj

Aiyyappa, a 35-year-old elephant which was found deserted in an estate near Chikmagalur is the new member of the elephant camp in Sakrebailu, a tiny village on the banks of the Tunga river which has evolved into a training centre for elephants.

Aiyyappa was brought for timber transportation to Chikmagalur on contract basis from Kerala but was deserted by the mahout. The wounds which Aiyyappa sustained thanks to being chained in a single place for over two months are being nursed now. This isolation had mentally disturbed the elephant. When Aiyyappa was brought to Sakrebailu, his physical as well as mental health was in a bad condition. The elephant had become unusually aggressive and intolerant of human presence. He had even tried to attack those who were feeding him in the estate. Aiyyappa was brought to Sakrebailu after sedatives were administered on him. It was a challenge for the staff members of Sakrebailu camp to nurse Aiyyappa back to normalcy. Veterinary expert Dr Shivayogi Eli nursed the wounds which Aiyyappa had sustained from being chained. Mahouts Faiz Pasha and Rajagopal of Sakrebailu tried to win over his confidence by offering food albeit after maintaining a safe distance from him. Aiyyappa allowed people to approach him after 20 days. The bond further strengthened and after a month Aiyyappa enjoyed the company of the mahouts in the backwater of Tunga reservoir.

Taming a wild elephant is an easy task compared to winning over the confidence of an elephant which has already been domesticated by another mahout. Elephants share a special bond with mahout-kavadi and never oblige the commands of another person. It was a great learning experience for Aiyyappa at Sakrebailu. Mahouts in Sakrebailu speak a language which is a curious mixture of Bengali, Urdu and Kannada. Aiyyappa who was earlier used to Malayalam language has learnt to understand the new language spoken by mahouts here.  Aiyyappa has become so obedient now that he brings green fodder for other elephants in the camp from the Shettyhalli forest. Like other elephants, Aiyyappa is brought to the camp from the forest at six am. He is offered a bath in the backwaters of the Tunga, which lasts for two hours. The breakfast comprises eight kilos of rice, same quantity of grass, 500 grams jaggery, four coconuts and 150 grams salt. After resting, he is sent back to the forest.

Aiyyappa is not the lone elephant to be disciplined at the camp. Manikantha, an elephant from a temple in Bangalore, Ganesha from Davangere and Rajendra from Kollur who also suffered poor health have been rehabilitated here. The camp now has 17 elephants and the training provided by mahouts and kavadis is such that the services of elephants from Sakrebailu are used for occasions like Dasara and Hampi Utsav.


In the article titled ‘From homeless tribal to GP chief' published in Spectrum on July 13, 2010, Janakamma's position in Abbalati Gram Panchayat has been wrongly mentioned. Janakamma has already served as President of the GP in her last term and this time, she is a member and not second-term president as mentioned. We regret the error.