By Aishuwarya Sudarshan
On the morning of 29th June 2012 a very tragic accident was witnessed in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. A speeding truck hit two elephants walking without reflectors, killing one elephant and injuring the second elephant severely! The mahouts of both elephants were injured and the truck driver vanished from the crime scene.
The WSOS team reached the location upon receiving a call on the hotline. The Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Rupak De, IFS ordered the elephant to be seized by the U.P. Forest Department and action to be taken against the negligent elephant owners. Further written orders were issued to transfer the injured elephant “Chanchal” immediately to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Rescue Center in Mathura for long term care and treatment. The police arrested the owners of both elephants for negligence!
A WSOS team led by Baiju and Dr.Yaduraj with two para vet staff and 3 trained Mahouts left for the location in two jeeps equipped to facilitate the rescue.
Upon reaching the location and examining Chanchal, the WSOS team realized that the impact of the accident had caused major internal injuries to “Chanchalâ€™s” right hind leg. This made it very painful for her to use this leg. Dr. Yaduraj gave her a pain killer to reduce her pain and inflammation, speaking to her in gentle tones through the procedure.
Chanchal was severely dehydrated and undernourished. Because of this, we had to administer her medication slowly and in limited doses. The team also had to keep the milling crowds away from her.
A local NGO – Noida SPCA, assisted us through the rescue process. A large truck was hired to move Chanchal to the rescue center.
The WSOS team quickly spread fresh grass and set up soft bedding inside the truck. Time was running out and we knew Chanchal was in pain as she kept lifting the injured leg. A thorough examination needed to be done to see if it was a hairline fracture.
Chanchal had never been on a truck before. Her previous owners just walked her everywhere – come rain or shine!
We were in the process of encouraging Chanchal to get on the truck; however she suspected the truck to be some kind of dangerous metal monster and was very reluctant to get on.
Just as we were finally about to get her on the truck, a local rogue mob representing the elephant owner who was in jail suddenly turned up and started disrupting the entire operation. They were trying to prevent Chanchal from getting on our truck and threatened to cause us and the elephant harm if we continued.
We immediately called for police protection and four jeeps full of policemen descended on us to disperse the mob.
After several hours of drama, at about 3:00 am Chanchal finally humored us and went into the truck. She made it clear that she certainly didn’t like this moving platform very much. Plenty of delicious sugar cane, copious quantities of fruits kept Chanchal occupied on the truck.
Four jeeps escorted Chanchals cavalcade to the WSOS rescue center.
As we reached the Elephant Rescue Center, a crane was on call to help Chanchal to get off the truck. She certainly seemed relieved to be on solid ground and we were all very glad she was there.
Our team started attending to her wounds and soon we started pulling out metal nails and shreds of glass and shrapnel lodged inside. She had open wounds and cuts all over her body. The nails and glass pieces were removed, Ointments and creams were applied and injections were administered. At first a little disoriented Chanchal drank enormous quantities of water and soon decided to munch on the fresh green fodder served to her.
It has been a few days since she came to the center and our vets have determined that she requires extensive treatment and veterinary care. Maya and Bijli the other cow elephants at the center swapped notes with Chanchal. The rumblings and deep murmurs of elephants in dialogue provide sweet music to our ears. We hope Chanchal will not have to go back to the dangers and hardships of being an entertainment elephant on the highways of north Indian cities.
According to Baiju who led the rescue operation “this was a fantastic collaboration between WSOS, our NGO, Police, Forest and the Govt authorities”
Dr. Yaduraj said â€œShe was in a lot of pain and needed extensive care and treatment. She needs to be retired as she is in bad shape and will require long term special care”
Sajal Srivastava of Noida SPCA said” I was very impressed by the commitment of the WSOS team and how they managed to get Chanchal on the truck. I’m glad we were able to help in her rescue. Her owner must certainly be punished for his negligence!”
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