Chennai, Sep 29 (IANS) Kaleem, the majestic 'Kumki' elephant of the Tamil Nadu forest department under the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) who helped in capturing several wild elephants that posed a threat, will be retiring from the state forest department service during next year.
Sources in the state forest department told IANS that the elephant has put in three decades of meritorious service and has turned 57 years of age now.
A senior officer with the Tamil Nadu forest department told IANS, 'Kaleem is a pride for our department. He was involved in many operations, it has even assisted the Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and even West Bengal forest departments to bring in order raging wild elephants that kills humans, destroy crops and create a ruckus and fear among people.'
He said that Kaleem was involved in chasing away at least 100 wild elephants into the forest and said that he was an asset to the forest department of Tamil Nadu. The forest officer also said that the 'Kumki' was gentle and well-mannered and obeyed the orders properly.
Kaleem was brought to the state forest department from Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve when he got separated from his herd when he was six years of age.
The animal, according to its handlers, has expertise in rescuing wild elephants that had fallen into deep pits and also help the department in driving wild elephants away into the forests.
His handler Mani while speaking to IANS said, 'Kaleem is highly adaptable to conditions of terrain and responds positively in any terrain. He was sent to West Bengal in a truck and was there for a month and did his task perfectly.'
The Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve officials said that they would be sending a proposal to the Tamil Nadu forest department soon as he was getting older and needed proper rest.
The department has already trained other Kumki elephants in the STR like, 'Kapildev', 'Rajyavarthan', and 'Syambu' to take on the mantle of Kaleem in the days to come.
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