arya elephant

Arya Arrives at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital!

September 29, 2020 | By Mahima Sharma

Enveloped with darkness and worked to the point of over exertion, an ailing and exhausted elephant would timidly make her way through the streets of a small town in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, unsure of the next step that she would take owing to her complete loss of vision. She worked through her blindness bravely and started using her trunk to survey her surroundings in order to be careful of each step that she would take. For this pachyderm’s astute strength and valour, we thought it would be befitting to name her Arya—after the popular character from the Game of Throne series!  

The team that brought Arya home at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital!
The team that brought Arya home at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital! [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

The psychological turmoil that a blind elephant goes through is unimaginable as they remain wary and cautious of their surroundings, all through their lives. In moments like these, it became even more clear to our rescue team  that every decision made has to prioritize Arya’s comfort. Hence the team reached her location late evening, so that the weather could be more agreeable after the sunset to allow Arya to have a comfortable journey overnight.

Arya took confident strides off the Elephant Ambulance with our elephant care staff close to her to guide her!
Arya took confident strides off the Elephant Ambulance with our elephant care staff nearby to guide her! [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

In the 13-hour long journey, our rescue team made sure that Arya was properly fed and hydrated while our elephant care staff constantly comforted her. Arya arrived at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital in the early hours of the morning and our team carefully levelled the ground in such a way that the hydraulic ramp of the Ambulance was at ground level for Arya to walk off easily, without feeling the incline.

A slightly cautious Arya and her curious trunk immediately picked up the fresh smells of the surroundings and she carefully walked off the ramp into the Elephant Hospital with our elephant care staff and veterinary team standing close to her. Arya’s keeper seems to have developed quite a bonding with her already, and he is ensuring that she remains comfortable and is guiding her in every step she takes!

Arya was confident in her stride but also very careful and alert to her new surroundings, picking the fresh smells around her!
Arya was confident in her stride but also very careful and alert to her new surroundings, picking the fresh smells around her! [Photo (C) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

Arya weighs 3100 kgs and the veterinary team will place her under a carefully charted diet that will help her gain strength without affecting her arthritic limbs. Upon preliminary assessment, it has been observed that Arya suffers from delicate, torn foot pads and overgrown and cracked toenails. The condition of her hind limbs appears to be painful which is why the veterinarians will conduct X ray to determine whether her cracked toenails is not a broken digit. In addition to this, Arya will have a complete blood culture analysis done which will help our veterinary team to understand if she has any infections, in order to choose feed additives for her to strengthen her immune system.

Arya's preliminary medical assessment at the Elephant Hospital where her keeper is making her comfortable with watermelons.
Arya’s preliminary medical assessment at the Elephant Hospital where her keeper is making her comfortable with watermelons. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

She is completely blind from both her eyes, and her left eyeball appears to have sustained an injury in her early life which ruptured it, while the right eye lost vision over time due to severe malnutrition. Arya becomes the seventh blind elephant under our care, which is why we understand that she is extremely apprehensive to unfamiliar touch and new voices. We have to give her the time she needs to get accustomed to her surroundings, which is why she has been shifted to her enclosure, and she spent the first few hours stretching her trunk to examine each and every corner!

Arya is completely blind and uses her trunk to navigate through her surroundings.
Arya is completely blind and uses her trunk to navigate through her surroundings. [Photo (C) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

What makes Arya a unique elephant is also the fact that while she continues to be slightly wary of her new environment, she does not show any signs of nervousness or shyness, almost as though accepting to herself that her healing journey has finally begun! Arya will never get her vision back, but under the expert care at Wildlife SOS, she will be cared for in the way that she truly deserves.

Arya enjoyed her first feast with much gusto and enthusiasm!
Arya enjoyed her first feast with much gusto and enthusiasm! [Photo (C) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

You can play an important role in contributing to her lifelong care, please consider becoming a sponsor for our dear Arya! Stay tuned as we bring to you more updates on her medical condition, her quirks and personality traits and how she is adjusting to her new life! 

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