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‘The Elephant Whisperers’ couple lose their jumbo baby, Ammukutti

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Mudumalai: ‘Ammukutti’, an elephant calf that was featured in the Oscar winning documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ – along with male juvenile elephant Raghu – died at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), last Friday.

Both Ammukutti and Raghu were under the care of Bomman and Bellie, a mahout couple. The documentary – directed by Kartiki Gonsalves – narrates the story of the couple taking care of Ammukutti and Raghu in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

On March 9, the calf was discovered inside a well at Dharmapuri. For a week, the calf was put under the care of forest veterinarians and Bomman.

Both veterinarians and Bomman’s repeated efforts to return the calf to its herd went in vain. Hence, Ammukutti was under the care of Bomman and Bellie.

According to MTR field director D Venkatesh, the calf was normal till Thursday noon. However, it had loose motion by the evening, which continued through the night.

“A team of veterinarians treated the calf. But it died around 1 am on Friday without responding to treatment,” Venkatesh said.

As per the preliminary autopsy report, the digestive capacity of the calf was compromised due to separation from its herd. Apart from that, a new environment and artificial milk were the reasons behind the tragic death.

Veterinarians also noticed that there were signs of pneumonia in the calf’s lungs. Samples of the vital parts of the carcass were collected for lab tests.

Later, Bomman and the forest staff conducted rituals before burning the carcass inside the forest area.

Bomman and Bellie shot to fame with the documentary, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’. They have their roots in the forest community Kattunayakar Tribe, which resides in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai National Park. Bomman, who hails from a family of mahouts, elephant caregivers, works at Asia’s oldest elephant camp, Theppakadu Elephant Camp.

Both Raghu and Ammukutti along with their caretakers, Bomman and Bellie had won the hearts of viewers in the documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’.

-Team Mysoorunews


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