The annual ritual of selecting Dasara elephants is on and the Forest Department officials are going to different elephant camps in Mysore and Coorg to prepare a preliminary list of elephants that are eligible to participate in the grand event. An initial list of 14 elephants has been prepared.
The Forest officials and the Department Veterinarian visited various elephant camps on July 30 including the Balle Camp where Golden Howdah-carrying elephant Arjuna is housed. They also visited Thithimathi Camp where Balarama is housed, Dubare Elephant Camp where Vijaya, Harsha, Vikrama, Cauvery, Dhananjaya and Eshwara are being taken care of and also visited Mathigodu Elephant Camp where Abhimanyu is lodged.
Yesterday, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Alexander and Veterinarian Dr. D.N. Nagaraj visited Bandipur and K.Gudi Camps in Chamarajanagar District. They examined the health of Chaitra, Lakshmi, Rohit, Jayaprakash, Gajendra and Durgaparameshwari.
They checked the health conditions, stamina, age, behaviour and the experience of elephants. The first list was prepared after the elephants are certified fit to take part in the festivities. The elephants were also examined for Dasara participation experience, health, weight and overall fitness.
Tuskers were examined for the condition of ‘Musth,’ where generally the behavior of the elephants will be volatile and sometimes violent. Weaning mother elephants were examined for pregnancy, post-delivery health and the doctors will decide on separating the mother and calf if the feeding period is over.
This time, 12 elephants will participate in Dasara spectacle and the Department authorities have prepared a list of 14 elephants. The list will be finalised at the Dasara Selection Committee meeting. Department sources said that the list will be finalised on Aug. 12.
Once the list is finalized, it will be sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) who will in turn forward it to the Dasara High-Powered Committee meeting that will be chaired by the Chief Minister. The approved list will be sent to the Mysore Palace.
The first batch of elephants is likely to arrive at the Mysore Palace around Aug. 20. Navaratri will begin on Sept. 29 and the Vijayadashami falls on Oct. 8. The 12 elephants have to be trained, well fed and groomed for a grand penultimate day of the festival.