Bhola – from ‘skin and bones’ to strong and healthy

October 12, 2011 | By wildlife@dmin
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A healthy BholaBhola the 45 year old male elephant came in with more injuries than some soldiers returning from battle. Hit by a truck, it was several months before he could recover from injuries to the trunk, spine, back and shoulders.

Bhola was an overworked and starved elephant to begin with, a veritable cadaver, yet an elephant with a strong will to survive. It took a lot of cajoling, medicines and immense amount of trust from both parties for Bhola to give up his incessant weaving and calm down and begin to benefit from the medicines as half the healing comes from an elephant’s psyche.

Bhola in the jungle

Currently, Bhola has completed musth without any uncontrollable aggression or accidents. He has an active appetite and his strength is phenomenal.

When Bhola reached the Wildlife SOS Elephant Haven, he was just skin and bones. He was received by Champa who then went on to become his dear friend and companion until the day she left Elephant Haven for her happier home above the clouds.

Bhola of course misses Champa and is now slowly making overtures of friendship to the two cow elephants Sai Geeta or Bijli and Maya.

On an evening walk with Bijli and Maya, Bhola curiously explores every bush and living being, and has become more approachable. He will walk up to you and introduce himself and you are in awe of his size alone. Years of ill treatment have left him with a badly sloping back and a peculiar posture but Bhola appears to be ready to forgive and forget. It is perhaps the most touching sight to see how an abused captive elephant regains his interest in simply the day’s activities and shows glimpses of humor, articulate conversations with his fellow elephants and regains trust in strangers.

When Bhola was in musth it took a lot to keep him occupied especially since it’s a period when the male elephant is uncomfortable, often in pain and irritable. Like all male elephants in musth Bhola liked to have water near him, frequently spraying himself and spending longer than before in the pond, often creating a scene when his patient mahout would take him out to the shed. During this period, the mahout kept his surroundings very quiet, private with a bamboo screen and fed him choice morsels of green fodder a little at a time to give him something to do.

Now with the musth over, a mud bath and a long walk with Bijli and Maya seems to be his favourite activity.

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