Elephants when in a playful mood are lovely to watch. I have had several opportunities of watching elephants in wild enjoying in their natural habitat which is something different from what we see in zoo, melas or in temples.
In Kerala we have several elephant camps maintained by the Forest Department and the major ones are Kappukad, Konni and Kodanad.
Kappukad elephant rehabilitation centre is located at about 25KM from Trivandrum via Kattakada-Kottur. It’s in the Agasthyavanam Biological Park which is in between Neyyar and Peppara Wild Life Sanctuaries. Forest Department has arranged elephant ride ( Rs 200/- per head) for the tourists and the camp which is inside the forest and nearby the catchments area of Neyyar Dam is a perfect spot to be with the family.
Konni Elephant Camp and training centre is 11 KM from Pathanamthitta which is the most famous and neatly maintained centre. The Elephant Kraal which can accommodate 3-4 elephants is the major attraction here. The centre has also Baby elephants that are separated from their herd; they are trained and tamed here by the Forest Department.
Kodanad, which is about 45 KM from Ernakulam, 12KM from Perumbavoor Town is the head quarters of Malayattur forest division. It is also known for the ‘Elephant Kraal’. The Forest Department also runs a “Mini Zoo” here which attracts a lot of tourists. Before 1977, elephants were captured from the nearby Malayattoor forests and trained at Kodanad. Capture of elephants was banned in that year and Kodanad center does not engage in capturing elephants any more. The Kodanad center now focuses on training elephants.