Friday, 2 February 2018

Chennai: A Story of Renewal and Hope.

During one of the distributions we had the honour of meeting a woman who brought 50 children from a rural area to receive their bedkits. Dr. Supraja Dharini not only helps these children by transporting them to and from the distribution but she also helps animals in need.

The team all agreed to travel an extra 6 hours after the plane ride back from the Karur distribution to meet 3 very special elephants in an Elephant Care Facility. They had been captive in a temple, chained by the foot for 23 hours a day. 

They suffered massive abscesses, foot problems and depression. Dr. Supraja Dharini, a friend of our Rotary, just happened to be at the temple. Thus, began the long process of releasing them into the freedom of a new space.

Our team first met the 3 elephant girls in a palm jungle!! We fed them special treats and got to know each other. We walked amongst them along a path, where they were scooping up leaves from the trees with their massive trunks. They are such beautiful gentle giants. They mesmerized us! As Supraja was preparing their food, the three of them rumbled with delight and charged into the feeding area, surprising me.

We were able to feed them bananas and homemade super large brownies. Actually, they were delicious steamed food squares – I ate some! What an amazing 4 sets of teeth they have.

The doctor has devoted so much of her time, love and finances for these elephants. They need special care every day to heal their abscesses and abused feet and bodies, but it’s working. They are so happy and love to be stroked and spoken to.

The doctor has plans to build a Biodiversity Education Centre on their newly purchased larger property. Children will be able to come and visit and learn to experience first hand the value and richness of nature in all living things. Presently she invites classes to visit the elephants and each bring a handful of feed. Every little bit helps!

As we left the Facility, a flock of magnificent peacocks bid us farewell across from the orange sun setting over the Bay of Bengal.

Click here to watch a video and visit their website: to know more about the elephants and the care facility that we had the opportunity to visit.

Kay Mountford for Chennai SCAW Team 2018
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