India is quite popular because of its oneness with nature and love for wildlife. According to Hindu philosophy (which is the major religion in India), animals are to be treated with kindness and many of them are represented in the form of deities too. So, when the country opened the first-ever elephant hospital back in 2018, it sent surges of joy throughout the world. And the good news is that a few months post its opening, this facility has successfully treated about 26 elephants.
The hospital is situated in Uttar Pradesh and was established by an animal welfare group called Wildlife SOS. It is a non-profit organization which is involved in the task of saving wild animals in India. It has been active since the year 1995. This group not only helps pachyderms but they have also helped turtles, bears, leopards, and different kinds of endangered species as well.
The problem with elephants in India comes due to their popularity among tourists. Due to the Western representation of India as a kind of magical and exotic land, elephants have gained a special value. Due to this stereotyping, many people still believe that Indians ride elephants and so, they also want to share the experience when they come to India. This results in the abuse of the mammal who is used in riding camps, temples, circuses, and for a variety of reasons by the tourism industry. Elephant abuse is rampant in India and neglecting them results in the rising complications of diseases among the elephant population. So, the hospital has come as a ray of light for them.
When a rescued elephant is brought into the medical center, they undergo a complete evaluation by a veterinarian. As most of these elephants are suffering from malnutrition and neglect, they have developed debilitating physical issues. The medical center is thus focused on treating old and injured elephants. It has all the modern equipment needed for a proper analysis of their physical conditions. They have ultrasound, digital radiology, pathology lab, laser therapy, hydrotherapy pool, and a special medical hoist to properly lift these large animals and put them in the treatment area. When a general check-up is required, they have jumbo-sized digital weight scales, and other necessary laboratory capabilities.
The Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital houses a portable X-Ray machine and they also have special foot-care tools. As there are many diseased elephants that need overnight observation, the medical center is fitted with infrared cameras so that veterinarians can monitor their patient the entire night.
Holly is one such patient of the hospital. She was a street-riding elephant and she was kept poorly by her owner. She is blind. When she first arrived in the hospital, her body was almost completely covered with untreated abscesses. Malnutrition has resulted in arthritis in her hind legs. She needed medical support and that too fast, but her owner did not think it was required.
In the hospital, Holly is being treated well. A team of veterinarians is trying to treat her painful arthritis by using therapeutic ultrasonography and cold laser therapy. They are also treating the abscesses daily and trying to keep her healthy by giving her the right amount of nutritious food.
After their treatment, these large mammals are taken to Wildlife SOS’s two elephant sanctuaries present in India: The Elephant Rescue Centre in Yamunanagar and The Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura. Thus, these elephants can spend the rest of their lives in peace and under proper protection.
Abused animals need our help and Wildlife SOS is doing their best to prevent it. We need to do our part as well and call out any kind of animal abuse that takes place. Animals are our friends – our neighbors. We should treat them with the same love and respect.