COIMBATORE: The 30-day rejuvenation camp for temple elephants concluded at Thekkampatti on Friday evening. The annual camp, usually held for 45-days, was reduced to 30 days this time because of the delay in scheduling and taking into account elephant migration season. The elephants were taken to their respective temples in trucks.

The closing ceremony was attended by the municipal administration and rural development minister S P Velumani, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments minister Sevoor S Ramachandran, district collector T N Hariharan and Rajya Sabha MP A K Selvaraj.

Around 31 elephants from state-run temples were treated to 30-day comforts, which included regular baths in a stream, daily pedicures, massages, treatment for ailments if any and games. “Many elephants came with foot injuries and foot sores, which take months to heal,” said joint director of animal husbandry department, Dr V Muthugopalakrishnan. “We fitted one elephant with a metal shoe, because its foot was badly damaged. We otherwise usually apply medicines, give them rest and the right nutrition, helping them heal fast,” he said.

Many elephants also came in with complaints of obesity and diabetes. These elephants were taken on walks twice a day, given time to play with other elephants and were put on a healthy diet so they return to their original wait.

Mahouts said animals feel mentally much better during and after the camp. “The elephants are more active when they see their ilks. After four years of gathering, they now recognise each other and build rapport instantly. A month of playing and spending time together makes them more relaxed and cheerful and active,” said a doctor attached to the animal husbandry department.

The camp began on February 9, after a 20-day delay from last year. “It first began in December but last year it started on January 7 and ended mid-February,” said an official attached to Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board. “The delay in scheduling forced us to conduct the camp in early summers, making it very hot for the elephants to enjoy themselves. The timing also collided with the elephant migration and mating season so we had to conclude it earlier to ensure safety of the elephants at the camp,” he said.