A fascinating spectacle, the Indian "Khedda" operation for capturing wild elephants - a famous sport of princes - was carried out December 17/19, for the last time ever, in the Kakankote Forests, near Mysore.
A fascinating spectacle, the Indian "Khedda" operation for capturing wild elephants - a famous sport of princes - was carried out December 17/19, for the last time ever, in the Kakankote Forests, near Mysore. President Prasad and the Governor of Mysore were part of a large audience for this exciting event.
Hundreds of "Shikaris", riding tame elephants - "Kumkis" - and accompanied by an alert party of beaters, start the final drive towards the spot where the great beasts have been located.
Months of preparation have preceded this roundup, and every precaution is taken by the beaters lest the wild elephants take an obstinate stand and charge them. They always make sure there is a nearby tree to climb.
To prompt the movement of the herd, the beaters make a clapping noise with a bamboo rattle. They steadily push the elephants on by lighting fires and charging at them until they are forced into the River Kapini.
As soon as they are wading in the centre of the river, beaters fire blank cartridges from all sides to make the elephants mount the Khedda bank and - finding themselves surrounded by tame elephants - are forced into a roping stockade.
When they are inside the stockade - covered with leafy branches to give the appearance of a forest - the gate is dropped and they are manoeuvered towards stanchions and trees where sometimes after a hard struggle, they are securely tied by expert ropers - not an easy process.
The River Kapini is soon to be harnessed under a hydro-electric scheme and it was necessary to clear the area completely of wild animals.
A similar operation was carried out prior to construction of Rhodesia's mighty Kariba Dam.
With the modernization of agriculture in India, tractors are very largely in use, and the wild elephant is now rarely used as a beast of burden.