Konni Elephant Reserve
Konni Elephant Reserve, Konni, Kerala 689691, India
Witness tamed elephants, their daily life and the ways of training them at Konni Elephant Training Centre.
Location of Konni Elephant Reserve
More about Konni Elephant Reserve
Konni Elephant Training Centre is a well known training centre for elephants in Kerala. The centre sits on a 9.2 acre land and the main attraction here besides the elephants itself is the massive wooden cage known as ‘Aanakoodu’ that are built to house the elephants. Built in 1942, Aanakoodu can accommodate three to four elephants at a time.
The tasks of Mahouts- the elephant trainers
The main task of the elephant trainers (mahouts) at Konni is to train baby elephants that are brought to the centre after getting separated from its herd, or found wounded in the forest. The trainers follow systematic methodologies to train the babies to tame them and get them accustomed to the life at the training centre.
Some of the trainings, apart from that of making the elephants obey commands include daily exercises in the mornings, walking in the premises, bath in the nearby river and feeding of a special diet. The bigger elephants are some times also used for works inside the forest land adjoining the training centre.
Visitor activities at the centre
At the training centre, visitors are allowed to have a closer look at the elephants and understand their behaviour. It is fun to watch the playfulness of the younger ones and also it is possible to ride on the bigger elephants. The elephant riding is limited to only few times in a day so only if you can reach in the morning you will be able to do that.
A elephant museum containing the skeleton of a tusker and an eco store to buy medicinal and forest goods are also present at the centre. There are plans to convert the elephant museum to a complete natural history museum based on elephants.
History of Konni Elephant Training Centre
The training centre was very popular since early 19th century. During those times, it was quite usual for large families, especially the royal families and temples to own elephants thereby an increased demand for tamed elephants. As a result, the elephants were captured from the dense forests of the Western Ghat Mountains and brought to Konni for training. The captured wild elephants are tamed and trained by the trainers along with the help of other tamed elephants and then passed over to the new owners.
Since the elephant capturing was legally stopped in 1977 by the government, the activities at the centre also declined since then. Rather than taming and training the caught elephants, it transitioned to a centre that does the same activities but only to wild elephants that were separated from the herds or those found in the forest wounded.
Eco friendly activities at the centre
The centre is also designed to be a zero waste emitter. The elephant dung is converted into biogas and fibre in the dung is converted into hand made paper. There are plans to covert plastic wastes to recycled products as well.
How to reach Konni Elephant training centre?
The training centre is located in Konni town in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala State in Southern India. It is located 11 km from Pathanamthitta Town. The nearest major railway station is at Chengannur, 35 km away. From Chengannur there are buses to Pathanamthitta Town and from there there are buses to Konni.