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In a five-hour challenging operation, Forest Department officials on Tuesday tracked down an injured wild elephant through the dense forest in the Nilgiris, tranquilised and treated it.
The tusker, aged around 15 years, was spotted limping owing to injury in its left hind leg a few days ago near Sigur and Singara forest ranges. Upon being alerted, the Forest Department deployed a team to monitor the elephant’s health.
Following this, a high-level meeting was convened on Monday and it was decided to treat the elephant.
Two kumkis from the MTR – Vijay and Bomman – were immediately pressed into service on Monday night.
A team of trackers from Nilgiris North Division, led by C. Badrasamy District Forest Officer (Nilgiris South Divisionspotted the elephant near a river bank at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday.
They followed it until they reached an ideal spot and tranquilised it using darts at 12.30 p.m.
Senior forest veterinarian N.S. Manoharan and MTR Veterinarian E. Vijayaraghavan approached the elephant and found a wound on the left hind leg.
They cleaned the wound, removed the puss and administered ointment. Injections were also given to prevent further infection, after which the animal was revived.
While the entire operation lasted five hours, the treatment was completed in about 30 minutes.
“There is a visible improvement in the elephant’s movement after the treatment. It is now grazing almost normally along the river bank. This operation was challenging as the visibility was very low in this forest area. Furthermore, the operation took place very close to a river,” said Dr. Manoharan.
Mr. Badrasamy said that a team of 10 anti-poaching watchers has been formed to continue monitoring the elephant till it completely recovered. On the reasons for treating a wild elephant, he said the population of male elephants was lower compared to the females.
As a result of which, it was decided to protect this male elephant.
Members of the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association and Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT) also witnessed the operation.