The female wild elephant, which was left behind by her herd in the buffer zone under the Kulathupuzha forest range in Kollam district last week, has returned to the group. The jumbo had sustained serious injuries during a fight within the herd.
The elephant’s return suggests that she has regained some health, thanks to the treatment given by the forest department medical team.
The team, comprising the beat forest officer, watchers and Konni range veterinary doctor Dr Jayakumar, spotted her the other day with the herd at Thavalapara, some 8-9 km into the forest from Muppathadi, where she was earlier found with severely infected wounds.
“She has walked that distance to join the herd. This suggests that she has recovered a bit. But a total recovery is still in doubt, considering the injuries she has sustained,” said Dr Jayakumar.
“With the onset of summer, the herds of wild elephants will move at a faster pace in search of water and food. We may not know what will then happen to the injured one, whether it will be able to catch up with the pace,” he added.
The injured jumbo, spotted by tribal people near the Pillekkode swamp a week ago, had wounds infested with flies and worms. The medical team had been giving her antibiotics in the form of tablets put inside pineapples and plantain stem.
“Now that she has joined the herd, she might move into the thick forest or other remote places. We are not sure whether we will be able to spot her again to continue the treatment. But the tablets have been handed over to watchers, to give her, in case they find her again,” said Shine R K, the beat forest officer.
The elephant, assumed to be 25 years old, is said to be a victim of an in-fight involving a tusker in the group. The injuries she suffered included a big one on the head, on the right side of the stomach, on the upper thigh, on one of the legs and on the ear.