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In Odisha, Elephants can now dine at a unique cafe in a sanctuary 



Marksmen Daily (11)

A unique dining experience has been unveiled in Odisha’s Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, situated just outside the state capital. This new establishment, however, is not for human patrons but for elephants rescued by forest officials. The innovative ‘elephant restaurant’ caters to the dietary needs of these majestic animals, offering a strictly vegetarian menu and individualized service.  

The restaurant primarily serves breakfast and lunch, ensuring the elephants receive nutritious meals essential for their well-being and training. Each elephant enjoys its meals in separate booths, ensuring a personalized dining experience without any disturbances. The staff is trained to respect the space of their patrons, ensuring they do not interfere when the elephants enter or leave the establishment. 

Susanta Nanda, the chief conservator, explained the rationale behind this initiative, training requires a routine as well as nutritional food. An establishment that caters to the elephants at specific times of the day fits the bill. Each booth is named after the respective elephant, who has been trained to recognize its designated spot.  

The ‘customers’ of this restaurant are typically young elephants separated from their herds. They are undergoing training to become kumki elephants, who are crucial for taming wild elephants and monitoring the increasing tiger population in neighboring forests. Currently, the restaurant cares for six elephants, looked after by a dedicated team of 13 mahouts and assistant mahouts. 

The daily routine starts with breakfast at 8:30 am, followed by a brisk morning walk and light exercise. The breakfast menu includes fruits such as bananas, coconuts, carrots, sugar cane, and watermelon. Lunch is served after an hour-long bath from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, consisting of a hearty mix of wheat, millets, corn powder, horse gram, molasses mixed with turmeric, castor oil, and salt. 

This innovative approach ensures that the elephants receive proper nutrition and care, helping them thrive in their new environment while preparing for their future roles in wildlife management.