Pawanpari, Sonakali, and Lacchama, three elephants who served the Jim Corbett National Park for around four decades, retired amidst an emotional farewell, at a function organised for them near the park’s Dhangari Gate.
The gentle pachyderms had a lot of responsibility. They would take thousands of tourists on safaris through the park and help the rangers patrol the park, famous for its thriving tiger population.
Elephants are the best way to see wildlife because they access places where automobiles don’t go, and more importantly, other animals don’t get spooked by their presence.
All the elephants have crossed 65 years of age. They came to the Jim Corbett National Park in the 1970’s, from Assam and Karnataka, and have been tirelessly serving the forest department since.
The elephants will no longer be used for duty and will be kept at Kalagarh camp and be taken care of by the forest department.
Uttarakhand Forest Minister, Harak Singh Rawat, while feeding jaggery to the elephants, said “I will never forget this event. The park authorities have taken a praiseworthy step to honour the services provided by the jumbos to the department.”
The elephant’s mahouts were felicitated as well. Pawanpari is special, as she had saved a mahout’s life when he was attacked by a tiger. The brave elephant charged at the big cat and made it flee.
After years of selfless service to the park, the elephants are going to get some much-deserved rest!