For years, elephants have gone through unspeakable torture and abuse at the hands of human beings -- from hunters and poachers targeting them for sport or their tusks, to people trying to tame them for entertainment purposes -- they have been beaten, shocked, and whipped into submission
Since there's no concrete way to curb this violence, Kerala has come up with a unique initiative to help them - an elephant rehabilitation centre.
Take a look at the home for the gentle giants situated at Kottoor, an ecotourism village situated nearly 35 kilometre from Thiruvananthapuram.
All photographs: PTI Photos
The elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottoor has been built at a cost of Rs 105 crore to take care of either orphaned or abandoned or injured jumbos. The rehab centre, of which the first phase of the project was inaugurated last month, will house an elephant museum, mahout training centre, a well-equipped veterinary hospital and crematorium for the pachyderm.
According to the officials at the centre, the facility will be able to accommodate 50 elephants, and a residential facility for 80 mahouts. The centre, which is spread over 56 hectares of land, will have administration blocks, tourist cafeteria among other facilities.
P S Easa, a member of the three-member technical committee of the Kottoor elephant rehabilitation centre said the project was a comprehensive programme to provide an opportunity to study elephants. Elaborating, he said, the main objective was to ensure that elephants, which are orphaned or abandoned could be provided a facility for a better treatment.
The rehabilitation centre has been planned on the lines of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka and will be India's first elephant rehabilitation centre
The construction of the rehabilitation centre will be completed by 2021. The forest department also plans to admit captive elephants. According to the last elephant census, the state has 507 captive elephants. Once operational, the centre will also start an elephant safari and other activities to attract tourists.
A Thiruvananthapuram Wildlife warden mentioned, "besides giving best care and protection to orphaned and abandoned elephants we are planning to give an opportunity for people to know more about elephants. They can understand their behavior and life pattern from a close range."