Kochi: Five leading elephant experts and 100 mahouts in Kerala will be honoured for the first time - and the latter will also get free insurance.
Balakrishna Shenoy, vice president of Elephant Care, an NGO, told IANS: "The function is unique because this is being jointly organised by the Kerala forest department, the Elephant Owners Welfare Association and us."
The event will take place Saturday.
"For the first time we are giving free insurance cover of Rs.100,000 to 100 mahouts," Shenoy said.
The experts who will he honoured are Radhakrishna Kaimal, K.C. Panicker, Muraleedharan Nair, Jacob V. Cheeran and Vaidyan Maheswaran Namboodiripadu. All of them will get the title 'Palakappya'.
Palakappya is an ancient sage who wrote the ayurveda text known as "Hasthi Ayurveda", which literally translates into Ayurveda of Elephants.
Four of the experts are leading veterinarians specialising in elephant care, while Namboodiripadu is an ayurveda expert in treating elephants.
Elephant Care is collating information for a survey of captive elephants in Kerala. Kerala reportedly has more than 700 captive elephants.