Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Dalma captive jumbo Rajni turns 13, birthday celebrated

The elephant was fed bananas and gourds by foresters and guards

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, October 7: Rajni, a captive female elephant undergoing rehab at Dalma wildlife sanctuary, turned 13 on Friday.

The occasion was celebrated with fanfare in the presence of foresters, villagers and school students who had assembled to witness the eventful day.

The celebration was kept simple in 2020 owing to the pandemic, and was attended by forest guards, a few members of eco development committees, and village chiefs.

However, this time it turned out to be different with visitors reveling the occasion with the birthday girl savouring bananas and gourds, not to forget the cake.

Rajni was helped to slice an 18-pound cake, as Dalma range officer (West) Dinesh Chandra and forest guards fed her bananas in the presence of Champa, Rajni’s 53-plus year old companion.

“We celebrate Rajni’s birthday every year. It makes us happy and we also feel we care about animals. We invited government school children and animal lovers who loved to be part of the occasion,”a forester saud.

Rajni was rescued from inside a well in Ichapur village of Seraikela-Kharsawan in 2010 and was subsequenty brought to Dalma for rehab. She was earlier treated for her injuries at Tata Steel Zoological Park hospital in Jamshedpur.

The elephant, who loves to play with village boys and girls, lives with Champa under a shade at Makulakocha, the main entrance to the sprawling 192 sq km sanctuary, 30 km from Jamshedpur. Champa was rescued from the clutches of beggars in Jamtara in 2010.

Village boys and girls are very fond of Rajni and feed her on a daily basis. Sometimes the jumbo even slips into villages but rurals don’t get  frightened as Rajni has become fully domesticated and loves humans.

Considering her age, Champa has become frail and somewhat weak. She suffered from arthritis last year and underment treatment under a Bhubaneswar-based vet. She was given infrared ray and ayurvedic leaves (Giloy). She regained her fitness in November last year.

According to another forester, the elephant, along with Rajni, goes for long walks along the Dalma foothills. “The mahaut takes Champa for grazing at around 11 am and returns to her shade in Makukakocha by 3 pm.

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