India has high regard for elephants. But these beautiful animals still face many challenges. They are susceptible to wildlife poachers, habitat loss, and a lack of medical facilities. The mahouts often mistreat their domesticated elephants. Health care for elephants is a major concern due to many reasons. But these gentle giants are finally getting the deserved respect and love with the opening of India’s first elephant hospital.
Health Care For Elephants: TAKING INITIATIVE
Wildlife SOS, a not for profit association, opened the hospital in Mathura, on November 16th, near the Elephant Conservative and Care Center. The hospital is a collaborative effort of Uttar Pradesh State Forest Department and Wildlife SOS. Funding was provided by private donations and CSR (corporate social responsibility) support. In an interview with Reuters, Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “I think by building a hospital we are underlining the fact that elephants need welfare measures as much as any other animal.”
Built over 12,000 square feet, the hospital aims to provide treatment to sick, injured, and geriatric elephants. There are facilities such as wireless digital X-Ray, thermal imaging, ultrasonography, protected contact elephant restraining and tranquilization devices. The hospital also offers quarantine facilities, a pathology laboratory and digital weighing scale with a dedicated indoor treatment enclosure for longer medical procedures. There is a medical hoist for elephants needing critical care.
NEED FOR ELEPHANT CARE
India is home to almost 50 to 60% of all Asiatic elephants. They are deemed endangered with an estimated population between 20 to 25,000 making it imperative to provide them with proper medical care and support. Wildlife SOS organizes training courses to spread awareness of elephant welfare, humane elephant management and veterinary procedures. “This is a huge milestone for elephant protection in India. This hospital will help us take better care of injured elephants in distress,” says Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO Wildlife SOS.
It is hoped this hospital will provide necessary support and improve the lives of elephants.