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Oscar Impact: Elephants To Get Healing Touch To Overcome Trauma; World Elephant Day Special

Wildlife SOS has to date managed to help over 50 elephants. These individuals are rescued from horrific instances of abuse, cruelty, and physical and mental torture.

Published: August 13, 2023 12:36 AM IST

By Tahir Qureshi

World Elephant Day, Wildlife SOS, Elephants, Wildlife, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Mathura
These wonderful animals are rescued from horrific instances of abuse, cruelty, and physical and mental torture.

World Elephant Day: Every year World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12, which is an annual event aimed to protect and preserve the elephants on our planet, as well as to promote awareness about the need for their conservation. To mark this occasion, Wildlife SOS’ efforts are a cornerstone in elephant conservation which can be witnessed in the veterinary treatment the organization provides to rescued elephants under their care.

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Wildlife SOS has to date managed to help over 50 elephants. These individuals are rescued from horrific instances of abuse, cruelty, and physical and mental torture. Even after rehabilitation, these elephants remain dependent on humans for their day-to-day survival.

The NGO operates three rescue and treatment facilities dedicated to the care of elephants in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Wildlife SOS’ journey started with its first elephant rescue in 2010 and today the three centres are home to over 30 elephants. Some of the elephants such as Nina, Bhola, Holly and Suzy are geriatric or old elephants who require specialised veterinary attention.

At over 70 years old, Suzy is the oldest elephant at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. She suffers from a complete loss of vision in both eyes and is devoid of molars. To take care of these health issues, the elephant caregivers accompany Suzy in her walks to clear the path for any pebbles or obstacles. The veterinary team provides only softened fruits in the form of a paste or ‘smoothie’ for Suzy’s seamless consumption.

Aged nearly 60 years, Bhola is an old male elephant who suffers from loss of sight and a serious tail injury. Being mindful of his safety, the layout and arrangement of Bhola’s enclosure is never altered. The enclosure is devoid of any sharp edges, and soft cushioning is added to the girders to ensure he does not bump and injure himself accidentally. Nina is a 60-year-old elderly female elephant who suffers from arthritis and ankylosis on her limbs. She is also completely blind, which was likely a result of being stabbed in the eyes by a bullhook.

Dr. S. Ilayaraja, Deputy Director- Veterinary Services, Wildlife SOS said, “The veterinary team meticulously provides laser therapy massages to combat the joint related problems that provide ample relief to Nina. Additionally, oral medication for pain management, multivitamin supplements and liver tonic, along with a healthy and nutritious diet keep Nina’s health recovery on track.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS said, “Like Nina, the geriatric elephants under our care were frail, malnourished or injured when we rescued them. Having spent considerable time under our care, their past selves are a mere shadow of their current condition. On World Elephant Day, we want to emphasize what good quality veterinary care can achieve in improving the lives of commercially exploited elephants. We wish to achieve a future where elephants on the streets can be a thing of the past.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary, Wildlife SOS said, “In order to treat injured, sick and geriatric elephants, Wildlife SOS established India’s first Elephant hospital in Mathura in November 2018. Coincidentally, one of the older elephants, Holly, who is over 60 years old, was the first to receive treatment at the hospital. Facilities such as laser therapy and hydrotherapy have helped immensely in improving her arthritic legs.”

Today there are estimated to be over 2,600 captive elephants in India and providing assistance requires vast resources. In light of this tragic situation, Wildlife SOS has launched a petition to urge and request the government to take strict action to protect all captive elephants in India, through required bi-annual inspections and veterinary certificates of health.

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