Elephant Shikar
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Elephant Shikar is a very old documentary about the capture of wild elephants. The documentary was first broadcast in 1971 as part of the 'Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom' documentary series.

Mutual of Omaha is the insurance company which was the principal sponsor of the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom series of documentaires. The series was first broadcast in 1963 and this particular episode was broadcast in 1971. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was recognized with 41 major awards, including four Emmys and an endorsement by the National PTA for television recommended for family viewing.

This documentary shows the govt forest department capturing wild elephants for use in forestry operations.

The 3 classic techniques for capturing wild elephants are:

  • Enticement technique: Wild elephants are enticed into a trap. The trap is usually a pit. The downside of this is that elephants can be injured after falling into the pit.
  • Khedda(stocakde) technique: Elephants are driven into a funnel shaped stockade and then trapped in there. 
  • Mela shikar: This is the technique popular in the North East. Mahouts ride trained elephants and lasso wild elephants with ropes. This is the most dangerous technique and requires the most skill. This was demonstrated in the book and the documentary Queen of the Elephants.

The Tamil Nadu forest department have developed a variation of the enticement technique. A circular ditch is dug to create a small island. The ditch is just deep enough that elephants will not cross this ditch. As the narrator says, elephants will not cross a ditch if they cant touch the bottom of the ditch with their trunk. The only way to the center of the island is by crossing the ditch over a small bridge.

Fresh cut sugarcane is laid out around the ditch and leading into the island inside. Elephants can smell this fresh cut sugarcane from miles away. The elephants are attracted to the sugarcane in the island. The elephant herd is enticed into this island. Once they are in the center of the island, the only way out over the bridge is blocked by tame elephants and the herd is trapped inside.

The elephants are trapped inside and can now be lassoed by mahouts on trained elephants.



The documentary is about the capture of wild elephants using a variation of the enticement technique. This variation of the enticement technique was developed by the Tamil Nadu forest dept. In this variation of the technique, elephants can be captured safely and using a simple technique.

The documentary shows the various preparations required for the actual capture.

It also shows the govt forest elephant training camp. Elephants captured from the wild are trained here. The elephants are well looked after by the mahouts.

The actual capture of a wild elephant herd is also shown in the documentary. 

It is a short 22 minute documentary.

It is a good documentary which shows the capture of wild elephants using the simplest and safest technique – enticement.

The title of this documentary is a mis-nomer. Shikar suggests that an animal is killed. In this case, the elephants are not killed but just captured. So 'Elephant capture' could be a better name for this documentary.


Ditch being dug to capture the elephants


Ditch being dug to capture the elephants


Wild elephants are enticed by fresh sugarcane and walk into the trap


The only way out of the trap is blocked with tame elephants


Captured tusker surrounded by people so it can get used to humans


Captured tusker being trained by roping it between 2 trained elephants


Captured tusker learn to enjoy human company as they enjoy the bath humans give them. Note the thick harness around the newly captured elephant to tie it to 2 other tame elephants


Trained elephant working in logging camp


Where to watch Elephant Shikar

The 'Elephant Shikar' is available on YouTube. You can watch it by clicking on the image below.

Click on the image above to watch the Elephant Shikar on YouTube



This documentary is a short documentary about the preparations and the subsequent capture of wild elephants using a variation of the enticement technique. As the Tamil Nadu govt forest dept shows, elephants can be safely captured using this simple technique.

This documentary is a historical record of actual capture of wild elephants and it also shows their subsequent care and training in the hands of the govt forest department.

This documentary will find universal appeal among all wildlife lovers.

Thanks for reading. Your comments and feedback will be appreciated.

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  1. Anand
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 12:38:05

    Found the information interesting. However the videos are not there. Could you send me the links (Url) for all the methods of capture.

    Additionally I would like to join the cause of conserving existing wild elephants and trained elephants.


  2. admin
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 12:50:55

    Please try again.


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