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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 February, 2004, 10:28 GMT
Town offered jumbo gift
elephant and rider
Dr Rao hopes to buy an elephant at auction
A doctor from India has decided to donate an elephant to his adopted home town.

Dr Rao Kodali, who arrived in the seaside resort of Skegness in 1996, says he is offering the elephant as a thank you gift.

"This is a gesture of my appreciation to the people of Skegness," he said.

Elephants are available at auctions in India and would probably cost about 10,000, plus shipping costs, Dr Rao said.

"I hope it can be used for tourism purposes and elephant rides in the town," he said.

'Harmless' creatures

The doctor, who runs Woodside Care Home in Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, says: "I have been treated so well by everyone here."

The elephant can walk on the beach and footpaths in the town
Dr Rao Kodali

Dr Rao explained that he saw an elephant skeleton in a Manchester museum that had been given by an Indian king to a duke in Yorkshire.

"I got the inspiration from that - and said 'I can do the same thing'."

Dr Rao, who comes from Andhra Pradesh in India, says he plans to bid for one and bring it back to Skegness.

"The elephant can walk on the beach and footpaths - they are very harmless creatures."

Dr Rao said he does not intend to keep the animal at his nursing home but will offer it to the Skegness town council and ask them to take care of it.

The town council considered the offer at a meeting on Wednesday and will make a final decision later this month.

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