Tusker Elephant Rescued After Decades of Torture!
In a gruelling 36 hour long rescue operation carried out by Wildlife SOS and Forest Dept., a 50 year old tusker (bull) elephant was rescued from near Gosaiganj in Uttar Pradesh. The elephant was detected as being in illegal custody. Having spent nearly five painful decades in the hands of unscrupulous Wildlife traffickers, the elephant is now free and safe at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation & Care Centre, Mathura.Tweet
-- The wildlife conservation NGO Wildlife SOS launched the 36 hour long rescue operation to move the ailing elephant from Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh to the safety of the organisation's Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.
Used for illegal and commercial events, wedding processions and even begging, the elephant had been coerced into submission and trained by use of cruel techniques involving intimidation, violence and punishment. As part of this indoctrination, he was kept tied to spiked chains, beaten and subjected to starvation.
Approx. 50 years old, the large tusker weighs nearly. 3.5 tonnes. Medical examination conducted by the Wildlife SOS veterinarians revealed that the elephant was severely malnourished with severe wounds on the legs, elbow, foot pads and even tail. The elephant's feet are in a terrible condition with overgrown toenails and inflammation. The elephant is also partially blind!
The elephant was rescued by Wildlife SOS in the Elephant Ambulance- currently India's one and only elephant ambulance with a convoy of support vehicles on the nearly 700 kilometre long journey to the Elephant Rehabilitation Center.
Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO & co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said "We are extremely grateful to the Forest Department for their cooperation and help in shifting this elephant to safety. 98% of the wild Asian elephant population has been lost due to poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation. India is the last strong hold for the Asian elephant population where 50% of the remaining population occur. It is critically important to conserve and protect Asian elephants. This elephant appears to have been poached from the wild as a young calf as there are no documents to confirm its legal procurement.
Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, Senior Veterinary Officer of the Elephant Conservation & Care Center said, "The elephant is having severe health problems and requires long term medical care. It will take the elephant a long to recover from his wounds and trauma."
Divisional Forest Officer Ashok Shukla - DFO Ambedkar Nagar, stated, "We complied with the directions of the court to ensure the safety of this elephant. The elephant has been transferred to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center which is a fully equipped facility with expert veterinary care."
Geeta Seshamani co-founder Wildlife SOS said, "Within a few short minutes of stepping into the centre, we could see a marked change in the behaviour of the elephant. This indicates the extreme abuse the elephant was subjected to."
Ms. Rhea Lopez, Wildlife SOS Elephant Campaign manager said "A team of Wildlife SOS vets and elephant care staff accompanied the elephant to ensure its comfort through the journey."
Notes to Editor
About Wildlife SOS
A Non-Profit Organization, Wildlife SOS is one of the largest rescue & conservation charities in South Asia. They operate ten wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world's largest Sloth Bear Rescue Centre and two Elephant Care Centres, with 23 rescued elephants under their care. Wildlife SOS runs tribal rehabilitation projects that aim to create alternative livelihoods for poachers and other indigenous communities that used to exploit wildlife for livelihoods. Additionally, they run a leopard rescue centre, a Wildlife Hotline in New Delhi and 'Forest Watch' which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit.