Villagers refuse to give up in tusker’s final hours (Indore, India)


Shubham Kishore, Times of India

Date Published

Despite 45-year-old Champa, an elephant, being in the last leg of her life, it hasn’t stopped residents of nearby villages showing that even in one’s final hours, showing kindness can go a long way irrespective of whether it’s a man or beast.

Residents bring something or the other for the pachyderm lying on the banks of Narmada in Kasrawad area of Khargone to eat. Champa’s mahout failed to feed her or get her wounds treated, which has led to her critical state.

“The way they have been feeding and taking care of the elephant is remarkable,” said SD Malha, sub divisional officer, forest department, Khargone.

Experts feel that any effort now will not be fruitful as the animal was not taken care off when it needed it the most. “The condition of the animal showed that it had not eaten properly for several days. It was dehydrated. We gave it medicines but we don’t see much hope,” said Dr Uttam Yadav, zoo in charge, Indore.

Champa had apparently travelled a long distance in the last few months. According to Ram, the mahout, he had come from Katni via Vidisha and Mandleshwar. While they were travelling long the banks of the Narmada, Champa suddenly fell and was unable to get up again.

“It seems that the elephant has been standing for more than a month. It has some problems in its joints. When such animals do not sit for such a long time, the possibilities of getting up once they fall is negligible,” said Dr HK Mehta, associate professor, department of medicine, Veterinary College, Mhow.

Since Champa had only been been lying on one side of her body, her blood circulation was badly affected, Mehta added.

“In most cases the mahout and the elephant’s owner do not have proper knowledge about certain problems that tuskers sometimes have. Over time these problems compound and these sorts of situations arise,” Mehta said.

While doctors confirmed the elephant’s condition was due to negligence, no case has been registered in the matter.

Forest department officials said they had checked with the owner of the elephant and he had all necessary papers. “The elephant is registered in Rajasthan. The owner had proper permission. At this stage it is not right to claim that the condition of elephant deteriorated due to negligence and that it was not taken care of properly,” Malha said.