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Two wild elephants treated in north-east India for poaching industries

18/12/2012 14:46:25

The injured adult tusker with swelling on the right foreleg. Photos: Dr Bhaskar Choudhury / WTI

Mobile veterinary team treated both elephants

December 2012. With assistance of forest staff, a Centre For Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation "CWRC) Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) team have successfully treated two injured wild elephants, in India's Kaziranga National Park.

In the first instance villagers reported an injured elephant unable to walk properly in the Sekoni Tea Estate. Upon reaching the spot, the team discovered that it was a male elephant, about 40 years old, with a swollen left forelimb because of a wound on the lower knee joint.

Gunshot wound
"The injury was deep-seated, with uneven edges - a probable gun-shot wound - though no foreign object was found embedded in it," said Dr Abhijit Bhawal, veterinarian of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), who led the team that responded to the rescue call. "Relevant medical treatment was given after the elephant was immobilized and the elephant was kept under observation. The last update from the forest staff confirmed an improvement in the elephant's wellbeing status, as gauged by its movement," he added.

Injecting antibiotics and steroids to the immobilized elephant. Photos: Dr Bhaskar Choudhury / WTI.

Injecting antibiotics and steroids to the immobilized elephant. Photos: Dr Bhaskar Choudhury / WTI.

Second elephant
The MVS was then called to treat another male adult elephant with a swelling on the right leg. This tusker, estimated to be around 30-35 years old, was visibly stressed at the sight of the captive elephants approaching him and needed to be tranquilised. Relevant medical treatment was provided under anaesthesia and the elephant showed signs of recovery within an hour. "The tusker was placed under a 48 hour observation with a team of frontline forest staff and a captive elephant to monitor his movement and feeding behaviour," said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head of WTI.

Mobile Veterinary Service
The primary objective of an MVS unit is to minimise the crucial time gap between detection of an affected animal and subsequent veterinary aid. In addition to providing on-field medical assistance, the MVS assumes the responsibility of relocating affected animals to nearest rescue centres or field stations, as the need may arise.

The Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) project is one of the unique efforts of WTI partnered by the Assam Forest Department and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and supported by Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL ) The project envisages placement of trained and equipped wildlife veterinarians in major protected areas across the country to ensure round-the-clock medical attention to displaced and distressed wild animals in need. At present, WTI runs five MVS units, three of which are in Assam and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

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