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Superhero elephant Kaleem who tamed rogue animals retires at 60

Kumki Kaleem who captured rogue elephants with his mahout (Pic. Courtesy IANS)

The superstar elephant from Tamil Nadu who made the State famous among forest officials and people troubled by wild elephants, Kumki Kaleem bid goodbye to his companions and staff of Kozhikamuthi camp located in Anamalai Tiger Reserve.

Well-known across India for controlling rogue elephants, Kaleem retired this week.  He will now spend his well-deserved retirement relaxing in an elephant camp.

It was in 1972 that Kaleem was first brought to Kozhikamuthi camp following his separation from his herd in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.

After been drafted into service, Kaleem who is eight-foot-tall and weighs five tonnes had taken part in 99 rescue operations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal in the last three decades.

Interestingly, Kaleem would have reached the century mark if he had been involved in capturing Bahubali, the wild elephant near Mettupalayam last year.

Among those who attended Kaleem’s farewell were Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Srinivas R. Reddy, Chief Wildlife Warden and S. Ramasubramanian, Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve.

As a gesture of honour, the staff of Ulanthy forest range gave a guard of honour to Kaleem, who in turn reciprocated by raising his trunk and trumpeting.

In her tweet Sahu wrote: “Our eyes are wet and hearts are full with gratitude as Kaleem, an iconic kumki elephant of Tamil Nadu retired at the age of 60.”

Sahu also took the opportunity to appreciate the services rendered by Mani who took care of Kaleem.