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News18 » India
1-min read

Kerala temple starts school to train mahouts

Elephants ran amok and killed 19 people this year alone.

Kundur Sathya Narayanan |

Updated:June 1, 2008, 3:06 PM IST
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Kerala temple starts school to train mahouts
Elephants ran amok and killed 19 people this year alone.

Thrissur: The sight of elephants turning violent in musth has brought a bad name to Kerala and its temple festivals.

Elephants have turned violent and killed about 19 people this year alone. Last year, nearly 100 people fell victim to elephants in musth. Now, authorities at the Guruvayur Srikrishna temple have moved in to address the problem.

“There is shortage of trained mahouts in Kerala. To find a solution, the Guruvayur Devaswom has started a Mahouts' Training school. Animal health, physiology, anatomy and practical training, mounting, demounting, nutrition, diet will part of the syllabus,” said veterinarian T C R Nambiar.

The two-year course includes training on common ailments, first aid, and most importantly, how an elephant behaves when it is in musth.

”Many elephants run amok claiming even human lives,” said elephant training expert, A Maheswaran. “To a certain extent, this is caused as mahouts have little knowledge of the jumbos. They don't know even about musth. This school has been started to find a solution to this and they will be trained as expert mahouts here.”

The batch of 30 trainees, all between 18 and 20 years of age, will undergo theory and practical sessions and only those who pass the qualifying examination at the end of six months will be allowed to continue the course. An annual budget of 54 lakhs has been earmarked for the functioning of the school.

With inputs from Dipankar Paul in New Delhi

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