Thrissur: It will be a major relief to elephant handlers and festival organisers. Thanks to newly developed non-invasive diagnostic equipment, they will soon be able to forecast the 'musth' period of tuskers without having to physically restrict verify it.
The device, called Thermo-scan, measures the heat emitted by the elephant's body with its high sensitivity to visualise pathological changes in the animal.
"The device absorbs the radiated heat emitted from the elephant's body and converts it into a colour image.
The spectrum of colours depicts the temperature patterns. The system, with a sensitivity of 0.1 degrees centigrade, enables daily measuring of temperature of the musk gland area, allowing us to estimate the onset of musth at the initial stage,'' explained Dr C. Jairaj Kumar, a Tirupathi based scientist, who developed the equipment.
Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants characterised by highly aggressive behaviour and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones, with testosterone levels rising about 60 times more than normal.
Jairaj is currently in the process of conducting the skin thickness calibration of the equipment and finalising the specifications of the software. "We have successfully completed trial runs on a large number of captive elephants across Kerala, including those in the Guruvayur Devaswom owned Punnathur Kotta," he added.