‘We are praying for a miracle’: Elephant that broke leg after being chased by angry villagers has infected ‘bed sores’ after weeks on its side and vets don’t know if it’ll survive (India)


Sanjay Pandey, Daily Mail

Date Published

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A wild elephant that broke his leg after being chased by angry villagers and was slowly dying of his wounds has been rescued by the Indian Army.

Sidda broke his right forelimb in August after being chased away from their crops by a mob in the village of Manchabele, 30 miles from Bangalore, the heart of India’s Silicon Valley, but a world away in terms of tradition and education.

The 35-year-old beast was tranquilised and taken to the Savandurga Reserve Forest. He was often seen on the banks of the Manchabele reservoir or in the water, which seemed to alleviate the pain in his leg.

But his condition deteriorated and two weeks ago he collapsed in the reservoir 100 metres from the shore, and had to be helped to his feet with a crane.

A local villager said: ‘He had remained in the water for 10 days without any food, probably hoping that the act would help heal his wounds faster. On the contrary, it worsened his wounds. Hungry and unable to bear the pain any long, Sidda floating in water some 100 metres from the banks.’

Sidda was dying a slow death because the vets were unable to treat his wounds because he was too frail to stand up on his own.

Now his condition is improving, but he needs several months of intensive veterinary treatment.

Local farmers and villagers, traditionally at odds with wild elephants as the beast often raid their home and fields in search of food, were deeply moved at the plight of Sidda, injured and suffering from excruciating pain.

Now they are not only praying for Sidda’s full recovery, but are also bringing him fruit and balls of millet from their meagre resources.

Dr Arun Sha, Wildlife SOS director, said, ‘We have placed harness belts around his injured leg and torso to keep him in an upright position to prevent his organs from collapsing. He is under observation to monitor his vitals.

‘Since he has been down on his side for over two weeks, we are very worried what implications that will have for his recovery.

‘That has also resulted in bed sores on his left flank which requires immediate treatment. We are doing our best and praying for a miracle.’

Sidda, who also suffers from bad eyesight, is also having pus removed from his injured leg.  

He is now secure in a special structure built by the Indian Army’s Madras Sappers Regiment.

The regiment said: ‘The team has been mobilised with a large amount of equipment including contraction for lifting the elephant and keeping him steady to administer medicines and to assist it in eating food.’

This week the soldiers managed to make Sidda stand on his feet for the first time and administer medicines.

Wildlife enthusiast Shiv Kunal Verma said, ‘Sidda has brought out the best among diverse people – be they in his immediate vicinity or in Bangalore, Pune or New Delhi. We are grateful to the army, forest rangers and wildlife activists.’