Army joins operation to rescue wild elephant Sidda (India)


New Indian Express

Date Published

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The Army has stepped in to assist the Karnataka Forest Department in treating Sidda, the wild elephant that has been battling for its life in the Manchabele backwaters for several weeks.

Following a request by chief wildlife warden M B Hosmat, the Madras Engineering Group [MEG], popularly called the Madras Sappers, has deployed a specialised task force led by an officer, one junior commissioned officer and 40 non-commissioned officers to build a specialised structure for the ailing elephant that will help it stand up or lean on while doctors treat it.

“The team has been mobilsed with a large amount of equipment including contraction for lifting the elephant and keeping him steady to administer medicines and to assist it in eating food,” a release by MEG said.

Sidda broke his right forelimb on August 30 after it was chased by villagers. It was treated and shifted to the Savandurga Reserve Forest. In the second week of September, however, he was spotted spending a lot of time in the backwaters of the Manchabele reservoir. Upon further inspection, it was found that Siddha’s injuries had worsened and he was using the water to alleviate his pain.

Several attempts to treat Sidda were not successful as tranquilising it was ruled out due to his poor health. Forest Department staff then started feeding the animal and giving it medication to ease its pain.

Speaking to New Indian Express, wildlife activist Savitha Bharamgoudar said after the elephant collapsed in the last week of November, cranes were used to put it back on its feet. “Attempts were made to build a wooden structure to support the elephant. However, since the elephant is wild, it smashed the poles. The specialised structure being built by Madras Sappers will help in making Sidda stand,” she said.

She added that veterinarians are trying to remove the puss accumulated in Sidda’s forelimb, which it has not been able to move.