Blind elephant survives after being hit by truckWildlife S.O.S’s love affair with elephants seems to be growing each day. Barely a few months after rescuing the beautiful and gentle Champa from a long life of hardship and misery, the WSOS rescue team came to the help of another pachyderm in dire need.

It was close to midnight on the 23rd of September, 2010, when the Wildlife SOS rescue helpline received a call about a blind elephant being injured critically in a truck accident.  A  truck had smashed at breakneck speed into “Bhola,” a large male elephant.  The truck was damaged and poor Bhola now lay listless on the ground. The Wildlife SOS rescue team reached the location to witness a heartbreaking scene, for the elephant was not only badly injured but was also blind. His regal gray body lay sprawled across the unforgiving tarmac, which was stained red by the blood from his wounds. The offending truck stood close by and seeing its crumpled hood and shattered wind screen, one could only imagine the force with which it had hit this gentle giant.

Acting against time, the rescue team members from Wildlife SOS and the Delhi Police worked together as a team and managed to get the elephant back up on his feet with the help of a crane. A veterinary unit from Friendicoes SECA also reached the location and the two vets worked hard until 3 AM to clean and dress the pussing wounds on Bhola’s trunk, back and legs, while also administering painkillers and antibiotics to ease his discomfort. All this while, Bhola stood patiently  allowing strangers he did not know to handle and treat him. This gentle giant’s faith and tolerance of pain humbled everyone who saw the sight.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS said, ”The Delhi Police provided us with  valuable support and timely assistance in helping Bhola.The WSOS rescue team crew led by Abhishek and Shraddhyesh also did an exemplary job of coordinating the rescue in a timely manner. The badly injured elephant was gently helped to his feet by a crane brought in by the police around 2am. “It was crucial that the elephant was made to stand because it could have suffered multi-organ failure had it remained lying down.” he said

Thanks to the quick response of the teams, Bhola made it through the night and is now on the road to recovery. Wildlife SOS continues to monitor his health and recovery progress.

Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “The Friendicoes vets Dr. K.D.Sharma and Dr. Prasad did a great job in working hard till 3 AM to bring Bhola out of immediate danger. Without this combined effort, it would have been an impossible task to save Bhola. The truck driver was arrested and a case of rash and negligent driving registered against him. The truck was on his way from Faridabad to the Azadpur Market. We hope Bhola can be rescued and given a permanent home and a life. It is unbearable to see wild animals treated this way. The owner is certainly guilty of cruelty if he is subjecting a blind elephant to such pain and suffering.”

Elephants in India, both wild and domestic are increasingly at the receiving end of human violence and indifference. The same day when Bhola suffered this tragedy in his life but managed to escape miraculously, seven other wild elephants were not as lucky as Bhola and were mowed down in a horrific train accident in North Bengal. The future of these gentle giants sadly rests on the formulation and implementation of strong policies for their protection and the protection of their rapidly disappearing habitat. Human/animal conflict and habitat fragmentation have left these migratory animals in a precarious position, vulnerable to every threat.

Wildlife SOS works to protect wild elephants and their habitat as well as to ease the lives of captive elephants in India by providing medical care as well as management and husbandry support to the elephant mahouts. If you’d like to help, please make a donation to support our work.