Lactating elephant stuck in slush rescued (Coimbatore, India)


Wilson Thomas, The Hindu

Date Published

A female adult elephant that stuck in the slush of a waterhole at Kunjurpathy in the forest periphery near Periyanaickenpalayam in Coimbatore rural was rescued after a five-hour-long struggle on Saturday. Soon after the rescue, the lactating mother elephant rushed to its calf that was roaming nearby and breastfed it.

The elephant, aged between 45 and 50 according to Forest veterinarians, was was part of a three-member herd.

“The elephant was found exhausted and was unable to move from the slush where it could have stuck in the later hours of Friday or early hours of Saturday. The calf and other elephant was roaming around the fallen mother elephant. The calf was spotted having milk from the fallen pachyderm in the morning. They were later chased to a safe distance to start the rescue operations,” said District Forest Officer S. Ramasubramanian.

The rescue works started around 8.30 a.m. under the supervision of senior Forest veterinary surgeon N.S. Manoharan, Mr. Ramasubramanian and C. Palani Raja, Range officer, Periyanaickenpalayam. Officials initially pulled out the elephant from the slush to the bed of the pond. It was given 50 bottles of saline solution, 20 injections of essential drugs like antibiotics, vitamins and other energy boosters.

According to Dr. Manoharan, the elephant was so exhausted that it did not scare people who were treating it for hours. Fruits and fodder were fed to the elephant in its mouth as the animal could not to move its trunk.

With help of excavator, Forest department officials created a slope from the place it was laid down for treatment. Around 1.30 p.m. the animal slowly slid its body through the slope and stood on its legs as its energy level was stabilised. After standing in the place for around 30 minutes, it walked off to the forest and breastfed its calf that was roaming around.

“Before walking off to the forest, the elephant came close to the entire team and literally watched every person as if a mark of gratitude. It did not try to chase people or trumpet to scare,” said N.I. Jalaluddin of Nature Conservation Society, who was at the spot.

Dr. Manoharan said that the elephant’s dung has high presence of parasites which could be one of the reasons for having exhausted and fallen in the bank of waterhole. The lactating elephant also had diarrhoea.

Mr. Ramasubramanian has directed anti-poaching watchers in the range to observe the elephant for a few days to track its health condition.

Elephant found dead

Meanwhile, a three-year-old male elephant with its tusks intact was found dead in Segur section in the Nilgiris. Investigations are on.