KOLKATA, 6 SEPT: The state may soon have an elephant orphanage ~ a first of its kind in the country ~ in the Dooars.
An NGO, Desam, has urged the state government to allot 300 acres of land needed for the purpose. Mr Aditya Mukherjee, founder president of the organisation, said he has given an outline of the proposal to the Union minister for environment and forest, Mrs Jayanti Natarajan, and she has called him to New Delhi to discuss the project in September this year.
“The Orissa government seemed to be very interested to set up the project in Simlipal. However, I have also identified certain spots in the Dooars that are favourable for elephant habitation. It all depends on the availability of the land there,” Mr Mukherjee said. A riverside plot is needed as mud baths are essential for elephants’ health and hygiene, he said.
Experts from Elephant Orphanage in Pinnevala, Sri Lanka and Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in northern Thailand, are also being roped in for the project.
The orphanage will also have facility for mobile nursery unit for the treatment of injured elephants. “The mobile unit will be developed so that it can rush to the place where the injured elephant is without relocating the elephant,” Mr Mukherjee said.
The fund for the upkeep of the orphanage and the facility is being generated with the help of the sponsors of the organisation. Later on, an elephant fostering or sponsorship plan will be developed so that wildlife enthusiasts in the country can pay for the treatment and upkeep of any particular elephant.
Mr Mukherjee said that a market survey was held to assess the viability of such a plan and the findings of the survey have been very encouraging.
It may be noted that weeks ago, an elephant calf was deserted by its herd that entered Bankura from the Dalma ranges in Jharkhand. The calf was deserted while crossing the flooded Dwarakeswar river near Patrasayer range and finally had to be deported to Jaldapara sanctuary in North Bengal after its herd snubbed efforts to reconcile the calf with it.
The orphanage can be a boon to such deserted elephants who often die due to neglect.