It was an emotional outing for all. A retirement function was organised at the Jim Corbett National Park’s Dhangari gate to bid an emotional farewell to three elephants. Wildlife lovers participated in large numbers.

The forest department hosted a first ever such event to retire three adored jumbos of the national park. In their four-decade-long service Pawanpari, Sonakali and Lacchama had conducted forest safaris for thousands of tourists and helped the forest department patro the national park ~ famous for its large tiger population.

The aging elephants, which have crossed 65, were brought in the park from Assam and Karnataka in the 70s. In their four decades of service to the forest department, thousands of wildlife lovers enjoyed rides on them. The retired jumbos will no longer be used for duty. They will be kept at Kalagarh camp and taken care of by the forest department.

Uttarakhand forest minister Harak Singh Rawat came all the way from Kotdwar to take park in the special function. Praising the service of the elephants, the state forest minister said, “I will never forget this event. The park authorities have taken a praiseworthy step to honour the services provided by the jumbos to the department.” The Uttarakhand forest minister offered jaggery to the three jumbos.

The mahouts of the elephants were also felicitated. Local resident Ganesh Rawat said, “It was an emotional function. I was deeply moved by the gesture of the forest department.”

Pawanpari was the darling of the forest department. The jumbo saved the life on a Mohout in a tiger attack, by charging and forcing the big cat to flee.