Special device may help save Sidda the wild elephant (India)


Deccan Chronicle

Date Published

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We have received permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden to design and build a special restraining device for Sidda the wild elephant to stand up and sleep with no weight on his injured front right leg. With this, his condition can improve and if all goes well, we might even save him.

We are thinking of roping in the Army and forest officials to help us build the structure, said a veterinarian, who is treating the male elephant, which has been unable to move or eat because of a severe injury to its leg for over a month now.
But senior forest department officials are not keen on the restraining device.

They argue that if a wild animal is kept in a man-made device such as that, there are chances of it getting violent and trying to kick which could worsen its injuries. Forest officials have told the vets to give the elephant continuous care and not to do anything for rehabilitating it at this juncture.

The veterinarian said, “As the elephant cannot stand, his condition has not improved, although he is showing signs of recovery from the septicemia.”
The veterinarians said that the wild elephant has shown signs of recovery and has displayed normal behaviour, but forest department officials, who are the decision-makers, have given it only 20 per cent chances of survival.

“The treatment is going on 24/7 with a vet present at the spot all the time. Sidda is eating, but not considerable amounts. He is also defecating normally which is a sign of his condition improving internally. Sometimes, he plays with his trunk slinging mud on himself, which is a healthy sign, proving that he is in less pain,” a treating doctor said.

Sidda continues to be given fluids, energy and calcium supplements, antibiotics, painkillers, food and drinking water. His wound is being treated regularly. The doctor said, “The elephant appears to be happy during the night as there are no people around. But during the day, he just stays put as there are large number of people visiting him, bringing fruits and offering prayers. Though we understand that it’s all done in good faith, we discourage people from doing such things to the wild elephant. The big crowds are becoming a nuisance for both the elephant and the treating doctors.”

The vets were elated to see Sidda stand for five hours on October 31, showing signs that he could bounce back to normal. A veterinarian, treating Sidda, said, “There are no veterinary hospitals for larger herbivores in the country and there is a need for one. The government with the help of forest department should make available such hospitals. If Sidda is ignored like this, then in future there could be many more Siddas who will end up dying the same way.”