Sunday, April 20, 2008

A jumbo 'brake'

Need to halt an unruly elephant. Apply the 'brake'.

That's what a smalltown innovator in Kerala province of India has come out with: a metallic 'brake' to halt unruly elephants, which the mahout (elephant keeper) can apply sitting atop the jumbo to stop the animal from running amok.

Bhaskaran, who designed the elephantine brake, claims that the device could rein in even the mightiest of tuskers but elephant experts are sceptical of its efficacy.

The device consists of an iron lock to be put on the forelimbs of the animal with a cable linked to it which can be used as a lever by the mahout when necessary.

The device will not be a hitch for the jumbos to move freely in normal circumstances, Bhaskaran claimed.

A furniture shop supervisor in Vadakkancherry, Kerala, Bhasksaran said he was prompted to work on the device following reports of increasing cases of elephant violence in Kerala, especially during the temple festival season in summer.

Though he had written to India's Ahmedabad-based National Innovation Foundation about his invention, he was asked to first get the device approved by recognised veterinarians in the state.

On contacting some vets, they found some flaws in the device, which Bhaskaran is now trying to improve to make it suitable for all types of jumbos.