The burden of a carrier, no sight to guide her and a bullhook that commanded her on what she has to do – such was the monotonous routine of Karma’s life before Wildlife SOS got her to the Elephant Hospital campus. Karma has lived 50 years never knowing what it is like to be an elephant with soft mud under her feet and greenery around her, as the only time she would lift her trunk would be to act as a money-minting machine for her owner.
To put Karma out of her misery became our only priority when we started our journey from the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, Mathura, to Karma’s location in our Elephant Ambulance. The Elephant Ambulance was loaded with sugarcanes, a drum of water that would be filled on the way back, medical hoists and a veterinary kit along with a lot of hope to give Karma chance at a new life. Karma is completely blind in both eyes, any moving or uneven surface caused her to be extremely wary of her surroundings, which is why it took her some time to board the Wildlife SOS Elephant Ambulance. Unsure of her steps into the moving vehicle, Karma did show some unmatched courage and trust and allowed us to help her bring closer to freedom.
One look at Karma and the only word that came into mind is how serene her majestic demeanor is, as she stood calmly in the Ambulance without once expressing discomfort, that we knew she must be facing. For blind elephants, the temperament is slightly unpredictable as they cannot completely trust their surroundings and rely on their sense of smell to understand their surroundings. Karma was still very cooperative throughout the journey, as we covered her up in blankets to shield her from cold winds and gave her warm water to drink. A six-hour-long journey brought Karma to the Elephant Hospital campus.
A mud ramp was created in continuance to the Ambulance’s ramp so as to allow Karma to easily deboard the Ambulance and walk into this new journey that would have her surrounded with the people who genuinely love and care for her. Watch Karma enter the hospital campus here.
As of now, she is taking her time to get used to her new environment, as she picks up the smell of the elephants around her, and feels the soft mud that will help her exhausted and stiff limbs that knew of nothing but hot, concrete roads. A detailed medical examination would follow, but the priority for our veterinarians is to first give her time to adjust to the new place.
A suppurating ankush (bullhook) wound behind her left ear is infected and filled with pus. The doctors are positive that with regular dressings with antiseptic, her wounds will heal gradually. Additionally, to boost immunity and build strength, she will be given oral medication and anti-inflammatory medicines to help with the swelling in her joints that have been severely overworked.
To keep her warm at night against the chilly winds of North India, a jacket has been put around her to make sure she is comfortable. Two mud beds in her enclosure have been created that will support her when she is willing to lie down as and how she grows at ease to her surroundings.
Karma spends her time taking slow and measured steps around her enclosure and munching on juicy sugarcanes and we hope that as time passes, she learns the good side of humanity that is willing to support her in this journey to heal!