India’s First Hospital for Elephants - Now its time for Government to pitch in

Pashu Sandesh, 26th November 2018

Wild Life SOS an NGO working for the welfare and rehabilitation of the Wild Animals has recently opened a Hospital exclusively for the Elephants. The Hospital probably the first of its kind in India is opened on a 12000 square feet facility at Mathura which is also having a sanctuary for the rescued and sick Pachyderms being run by the Wild Life SOS. Hospital has wireless digital X-ray and thermal imaging services, ultrasonography and hydrotherapy as a cure for arthritis and also equipped with a dental wing, a small crane to lift the animals needing special care and a quarantine section to house sick and geriatric elephants.

The news of opening of the Hospital has rejoiced the Animal lovers and Wildlife enthusiasts. “By building this hospital we are highlighting the fact that elephants need welfare measures as much as any other animal,” said Geeta Seshamani of Wildlife SOS. 

The Hospital is currently treating the rescued Elephants from circus, Temples and private owners who have abused these Animals over the years leaving them highly traumatised both Physically and emotionally. Some elephants are of advanced age and malnourished. The Hospital would be run mostly on the donations. 

What is the role of Government?

Things are looking good for tuskers who are in medical need but the reality is entirely different. Most of the elephants who would be needing the Medical care are in Wild and it would be very difficult but not impossible to bring the sick Animal from the Wild to the SOS rescue centre at Mathura. The Animals housed at SOS currently are tamed Animals which would not pose same level of threat to the handlers and Vets who would be treating them. The treatment of a Wild animal would involve a different set of skill and expertise. The exclusive hospital for Elephants has at least given a message to the Government to open such facility near forest areas where the sick and injured animal could be brought, timely treated and again released into the Wild. May be such facilities are conceptualised but we are yet to see one such on the ground. 

Government could also help rescue of elephants which are engaged in tourist duties and others. One media report had said that many of the Elephants involved in tourist duties are weak and often even blind. Why it is to be left to an NGO to find and rescue such poor souls? Its the role of the Government bodies such as Wild life wardens, Zoo authorities and Animal Welfare Board to identify the needy animals and make arrangements to send them to the Hospital for treatment and rehabilitation.