The annual camp for temple elephants conducted by the State Government concluded with a special puja at the Thekkampatti site at 4.30 pm. The pachyderms showed a bit of reluctance to leave the camp site, but were somehow convinced by their mahouts to board the specially prepared trucks for the return journey around 7.30 pm.
No minister was present at the time of the inaugural of the camp on February 9 due to the uncertain situation in the government. However, Ministers Sevvoor S Ramachandran (HR&CE) and S P Velumani (Mpl Admin, Rural Development) participated in a function organised to mark the conclusion of the camp and flagged off the trucks.
“On Saturday morning, all the jumbos had reached their respective temples and mutts. Elephants from Puducherry and nine elephants from Tirunelveli area that covered the longest distance to the camp side also reported have reached safe”, senior official R Sudarshan said.
Unlike the camp in the previous seasons that used to be conducted for 48 days, this year the camp was cut short to 30 days. This was due to the delay in issuing the Government Order for the camp as Jayalalithaa was hospitalised and due to the poor monsoon.
This year, the forest personnel set up a five-tier security and kept wild elephants away from the camp. During the camp in 2016, a wild elephant strayed into the camp on the first day and that led to panic among the camp participants.