KUMKI ELEPHANTS (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     23rd January 2024        

Context: The Odisha government has sought assistance of Tamil Nadu for making kumki elephants and mahouts available in the wake of worsening human­elephant conflict in the eastern State.

Kumki Elephants

  • About: It is an elephant specially trained to assist in training other elephants and perform specific tasks requiring exceptional control from its Mahout.
  • Geographical Presence: Famous Kumkies are predominantly found in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India. 
  • Elephant-Human-Conflict: Kumkies are utilized in HEC situations to deter wild elephants, preventing further problems for the local human population.
  • Role in Elephant Training in South India: Kumkies are involved in the initial training phase of freshly caught wild elephants in South India. They are often tethered to the new elephants, guiding them during their first walking training outside the Kraal.
  • During Training: Kumkis may administer mild punishments if the semi-wild elephant attempts to attack a Mahout. They also intervene by pushing the new elephant and providing clear signals to discourage resistance.
  • Mahouts of Kumkis: The Mahouts of Kumkis are equally renowned for their ability to maintain control over the elephants. They play a significant role in bringing other elephants to the level of Kumkies through effective training and management.
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