Thanks to forest dept, ailing elephants on path of recovery (Coimbatore, India)


The Times of India

Date Published

The personnel of the forest department on Friday administered
antibiotics to a seven-year-old lone female elephant and a
three-year-old male elephant suffering from bacterial diseases in
Coimbatore forest range. A team, led by forest veterinarian NS
Manoharan, darted the elephants with medicines.

The female elephant, found roaming alone in Thippanur near Pannimadai
during night hours, was affected by bacterial infection in its mouth.
Though a team from the department had attempted to treat the elephant
a few days ago, it chased them away. They later decided to administer
medicine by remote injection.

Meanwhile, the officials approached the ailing elephant with fruits
mixed with medicine. “We placed fruits mixed with medicines near a
gated community area at Thippanur some days ago and the elephant was
not hesitant to eat it,” said S Ramasubramanian, district forest
officer (DFO), Coimbatore forest division.

The personnel darted it on Friday night. “The antibiotic drug will
cure the wounds in its mouth. We have been providing medicine-laced
fruits for the last five days and noticed improvement in its
condition. It would recover completely soon,” Ramasubramanian told

The three-year-old male calf was in a herd seen at a brick kiln unit
at Veerapandipudur near Thadagam. “We administered medicine to the
elephant calf also using a dart. The health condition of the animal
has improved,” said Ramasubramanian.

The chief conservator of forests (CCF), I Anwardeen, congratulated the
field staff for conducting the treatment. “It was a very risky
operation. Thanks to our staff, the two animals are recovering from
the ailment. We have taken dung samples for analysis. The animals are
affected by unfavourable weather, ecological stress, lower immunity
and inbreeding depression,” he told TOI.

Only rains and fresh pasture availability in the natural habitat can
improve the health of the wild animals, Anwardeen added.

Meanwhile, Ramasubramanian blamed man-animal conflict for the spread
of bacterial infections among wild animals. “There is acute water
scarcity in the reserve forest. When villagers take cattle to the
forest area for grazing, the domestic animals drink from the water
resources inside the forest. Due to this, bacterial infections spread
to the wild animals,” he said.