With her larger than life personality and enthusiastic trumpeting, it is very easy to distinguish Lilly from the rest of the herd which resides at the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, situated in Haryana. Watching Lilly enjoy her peaceful walks around the densely forested area with her companions or mischievously sneaking out treats from her caregiver’s bag, it is hard to imagine that she once was forced to live a life of pain and torment.
Six years ago, when Lilly took her first steps to freedom, we saw a weak and severely malnourished elephant who had given up on her faith in humanity. Lilly was a begging elephant and her life was riddled with pain and anxiety, suffering the sheer mental stress and trauma from walking around the roads amidst glaring horns and repeated thrashings of the bull-hook (ankush) to push her forward. She would be easily agitated when approached by our veterinarians and elephant care staff, thinking just like her former owners, they too would chain her up and strike her with sticks and bull-hooks. Trust was slow to build, but under the dedicated care and lots of well-deserved love and companionship, Lilly started on her path to recovery.
The blaring horns and the narrow roads that made walking a struggle for her to walk and managed to create a lasting impact on her psychological well-being that to this date, Lilly’s reaction to vehicles and horns is panic. Lilly gets extremely uncomfortable and wary whenever she spots large vehicles which is why the staff at the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre always ensures that the vehicle that brings the fodder and fruits for the elephants comes only when Lilly is away for her walk.
It has taken the team of veterinarians and the elephant care staff six years to bring out the playful, jovial side to Lilly and no doubt, she plays on the heartstrings of her keeper who always looks out for her and makes sure that she always has a constant supply of fresh green fodder and her favourite enrichments. Presently, Lilly weighs 3672 kgs and munches on a healthy diet of her favourite bananas, apples and sugarcanes, completely avoiding pumpkins and flinging it away each time that she spots within a few metres of her. With her mischievous nature, Lilly’s personality can easily be considered similar to our beloved Laxmi’s – especially with her vibrancy and food-motivated nature!
Lilly is the closest to Daisy and Ella and the trio can be spotted on long walks, with Lilly comfortably nestled between them. With the arrival of Daisy and Jasmine, Lilly now has five companions who she enjoys interacting with! Lilly has a warm and welcoming nature, being the first elephant to reach out to both Daisy and Jasmine when they had arrived at the Centre, and greeting them with affectionate trunk touching to comfort them.
The monsoon season brings out Lilly’s carefree personality as she can be spotted excitedly trumpeting in torrential downpour, completely enjoying the rains! The rains create muddy puddles, which can easily be considered Lilly’s weakness, as she loves to play around them, splashing mud all around her in sheer excitement!
Lilly continues to receive medicated foot baths of Epsom salt and turmeric to expedite healing of her footpads and maintain cuticular health, and she finds it extremely hard to stay still during the treatments unless it is for the constant supply of treats – her favourite bananas, both raw and ripe!
Celebrating her 6th rescueversary, a lavish spread of bananas, sugarcanes and apples were organised. Our dear Lilly was absolutely thrilled to munch on her treats while our team cheered her on! Lilly’s unwavering strength, vivacious nature and her delightful antics are what make her unique and everyone’s favourite!