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65-year-old Elephant Phookali celebrates her 10th rescue anniversary in style

ELEPHANTS DAY OUT! Phoolkali (centre) enjoying her mouth-watering spread with her friends, Maya and Emma

Freedom is dear to everyone, including animals. Thus 2022 is a special year for elephant Phookali who celebrated 10 years of freedom after spending five long decades as a begging animal in Uttar Pradesh.


It was exactly a decade ago that Phoolkali was rescued from beggary by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and Wildlife SOS and moved to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, run by the NGO at Mathura.

To make her 10th rescue anniversary memorable, Wildlife SOS team created a special treat in the shape of number 10 using bamboo and green fodder. Besides that, a mouth-watering spread of bananas, watermelon, papayas and pumpkins was arranged by the riverside. Phoolkali was delighted to see the feast after returning from her dip with her two elephant companions, Maya and Emma.

Before her rescue Phoolkali would spend her days walking along the streets of Agra, begging for alms. Abuse, overwork and neglect left her with several ailments like cracked toenails and damaged footpads and cuticles with severe toenail abscesses. She also suffered from psychological trauma. She was very lonely having no chance to interact with other elephants.

Phoolkali enjoys splashing the water for long hours

At Mathura, Phoolkali was introduced to Maya, an elephant rescued from a circus in 2010. They bonded well, and Maya played a significant role in Phoolkali’s recovery.

Now, 65-year-old Phoolkali is a completely different elephant, having regained her strength and confidence. Enjoying long walks to the Yamuna river-side, she loves spending hours in the water.

Talking about her, Baiju Raj M.V, Director Conservation Projects, Wildlife SOS, said: “Years of neglect and abuse had a detrimental effect on Phoolkali’s health and it has taken a long time for her to recover. As part of her ongoing treatment, Phoolkali gets relaxing medicated footbaths, her overgrown footpads are trimmed regularly, and she is on a nutritious, healthy diet.”

Also read: Abandoned leopard cub ‘Simba’ rehabilitated at Maharashtra care centre