India Elephant School
Wild elephants are not friendly with man. They are given suitable training by trained mahouts and taught to obey the mahouts commands.
Elephants are beautiful and gigantic in figure. They live in forests mostly in Africa and India. The African elephants are larger and stronger than the Indian elephants.
In India, elephants live in the jungles of Assam, Karnataka and Kerala. Many elephants are killed illegally by hunters for the valuable ivory and tusks. Since the number has come down heavily, the Government has banned the wholesale catching of elephants.
In Kerala at two places elephant used to be caught by the Government. They are Kodanad forest in Kochi district and Konni forest in Pathanamthitta. They were caught and trained in two centers in special schools.
Elephants caught from the jungles and brought to the training center. The forest officials with the help of trained elephants get the wild elephants out of the pit. This is a very lengthy and risky process. After this process trained elephants are brought near the school. The captured elephant will be in the middle and chained between the two trained elephants, and followed by another trained elephant behind the wild elephant will be resisting the movement althrough. But all its protests are in vein.
At the training center the wide door is kept open to allow entry for the captured elephants. They will sense danger and resist entering inside. Mahouts will put some food. Then a female-trained elephant uses from behind some force. Ultimately the elephant is pushed inside and the door is closed. The ropes are leased from elephant's neck. It will charge against the wooden bars of the center. But the wooden bars are so strong and sturdy. It is made up of a wood called 'Thampakam' and no danger is done to them.
The center has six sections and have inmates similarly caught and brought. After a great dealing of fussing around and after eating bananas and tender bamboo leaves the elephants learns to be friendly with the mahout. He allows him to touch him, bathe him and starts obeying him. With the help of a long stick mahout can control them and learns the meaning of few words such as sit down, stand up, turn right, turn left, stop, raising the leg etc; If the mahout touches him on certain parts of the body elephant knows whether he is to go faster or slower or stop or to kneel. Gradually an elephant raises his front legs to enable the mahout to climb to the top and sit.
The elephant is removed from the closed room, as he is fully trained and familiar with the surroundings. He slowly becomes familiar with the people, vehicle, sounds, new places, and learns to live everywhere.