Forest department’s report confirms 63-year-old Gajraj is unwell (Satara district, India)


Vijay Singh, The Times of India

Date Published

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NAVI MUMBAI: The medical inspection reports prepared by veterinarians and authorised by the Maharashtra forest department confirm that the 63-year-old elephant Gajrajfrom Aundh in Satara district suffers from many ailments and requires urgent treatment. The elephant is suffering from weakness, untreated prolonged abscesses on his hindquarters and elbows, and other painful foot conditions.

Following the findings of the inspection reports and upon the request of the Maharashtra Forest Department, Wildlife SOS – a renowned non-governmental organisation engaged in the rehabilitation of rescued captive elephants in India – has confirmed that it is willing to accept Gajraj for long-term medical treatment and lifetime care at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, subject to permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttar Pradesh.

The reports, copies of which People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has obtained, also reveal that his housing conditions are inadequate. The uncovered chain used for tethering him poses a risk of injuries to his legs, and that the current custodian failed to maintain even basic health-care records, said a PETA India activist.

He added that the custodian also failed to implant a microchip, which is mandatory per the Indian government’s guidelines for elephant care. The reports conclude that the present management practices are grossly inadequate and Gajraj must be rehabilitated at a recognized elephant care centre. The inspection was ordered following complaints from PETA India.