Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand has come with a unique initiative to help de-stress captive elephants that are used for patrolling and monitoring within the forest. 

For the first time, a gym has been set up exclusively for elephants in Chilla range of the forest to help them de-stress and fight boredom.


Amit Verma, field director Rajaji Tiger Reserve stated that a gym has been put in place to ensure that the captive elephants get some good exercise, remain healthy and cheerful. He said:

The gym will provide options of exercise and playfulness which will keep them more fit and cheerful. The elephants in wild move a lot and get rigorous physical exposure than those in captivity.

But mind you, the gym is quite unique and different. There are big pipes with holes in them and food like bananas are kept in those big pipes so that the elephants go searching for the food. 

The gym also has tyres hanging from ropes, big hanging balls and small balls on the ground to play around with. 

The forest officials have also set up a mud bath heap for these elephants, which they seem to enjoy a lot. All these fun activities have been set up to ensure these elephants don’t feel boredom and lead an active lifestyle. Verma in an interview said:

Such playful activities will ensure that these elephants don’t feel boredom and don’t have to live a sedentary life compared to wild elephants in their natural habitats. 

Currently, there are 6 captive elephants in the Tiger Reserve and of the 6, 3 are baby elephants. 


Dr Aditi Sharma, veterinarian at the reserve explains that when elephants are separated from their herd, they go through stress and because of this, many captive elephants start moving their heads while standing. 

Dr Sharma also states that plans to introduce more activities like wooden toys for elephants are also in the works.


Right now, there are two main elephant bastions in the state of Uttarakhand- Rajaji and Corbett landscape. As per the latest elephant census released a few days back, there are around 2,026 elephants in the state. 

This is a great initiative indeed. What a thoughtful gesture!