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Wildlife NGO opens care centres for aged and injured elephants

Veterinarians at the three rescue centres for elephants run by Wildlife SOS provide medical treatment using high grade equipment

The celebration of World Elephant Day on August 12 brings into sharp focus the efforts to conserve these animals and there are several non-governmental organisations which are doing this. One of them is the Wildlife SOS which has been working for the welfare of elephants for years.

The NGO provides veterinary treatment for rescued elephants under their care. Till now they have helped more than 50 creatures and these are all individuals who have been rescued from horrific instances of abuse, cruelty, and physical and mental torture.

Following their rehabilitation, these animals continue to need help and are dependent on humans for their day-to-day survival. This catered by this NGO.

Currently, Wildlife SOS is running three rescue and treatment facilities dedicated to the care of elephants in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

It was more than a decade that the NGO started its initiative to rescue its first elephant in 2010 and since then it has gone on to build three centres which house more than 30 elephants. Many of the inmates in these centres like Nina, Bhola, Holly and Suzy are old, requiring specialised veterinary facilities.

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Suzy is the oldest elephant living one of the rescue and treatment centres

Suzy who is more than 70 years old is the oldest elephant and stays at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, UP. She has lost vision in both her eyes and has no molars. The caregivers accompany Suzy in her walks, ensuring that there are no pebbles or obstacles in the path. The veterinary team provides only softened fruits in the form of a paste or smoothie for Suzy’s seamless consumption.

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Bhola, the 60-year-old elephant enjoying a bath

Likewise, Bhola who is 60 years old is a male elephant who has lost his sight and has a serious tail injury. Keeping in mind his safety, the layout and arrangement of Bhola’s enclosure is never altered. It is also devoid of any sharp edges, and soft cushioning is added to the girders to ensure he does not bump and injure himself accidentally.

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Nina the elephant being given treatment for the foot

Another 60-year-old elephant is Nina who suffers from arthritis and ankylosis on her limbs and is blind. Talking about this female elephant, 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.”

The NGO according to its Co-founder, Geeta Seshamani established India’s first elephant hospital in Mathura in November 2018. Here, Holly, now 60, was the first to receive treatment at the hospital. Facilities at the hospital like laser therapy and hydrotherapy have helped immensely in improving Holly’s arthritic legs.

Considering that there are more than 2,600 captive elephants in India, Wildlife SOS along with others has been striving continuously to see that the Government of India ensures their protection through required bi-annual inspections and veterinary certificates of health.

Also read: ‘Rosie’ the injured 39-year-old elephant finally gains freedom from begging in Uttar Pradesh