Local activists are unhappy with the veterinarians' treatment of the elephant.

Mistaken for constipation pregnant elephant mishandled by vets in TN
news Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 12:19

An elephant near Periya Thadagam in Coimbatore was in its third trimester, but veterinarians could not identify its pregnancy and instead treated it for constipation. What’s more the pregnant wild elephant, who was found weak and unable to move, was precariously lifted with a crane and transported in a lorry.

The elephant, however, safely gave birth despite being administered with several injections to treat what doctors predicted as a “stomach ailment”. 

Veterinarians told The New Indian Express that they knew about the pregnancy all along and were treating the elephant for other stomach-related ailments. 

Mohammad Saleem of the Environmental Conservation Group spoke to The New Indian Express and said forest veterinarians initially thought the elephant was not pregnant as it was 30-years-old.  

Wildlife veterinarian S Manoharan, notorious for the treatment administered to the now deceased Madukkarai Maharaj, maintained that he knew about the pregnancy though he did not know the exact month and when it would deliver. “The animal’s health improved from the treatment,” he said, adding, “It was given treatment for four days, and with the use of crane and kumkis, we helped the animal to stand up on her own."

But not all is well among the locals. Vennila, a local advocate said she was shocked at the incompetence of the veterinarians. “It is very clear it was in advanced pregnancy stage, but forest officers said it was being treated for constipation for 24 hours.

Due to their inability to detect the elephant’s pregnancy, they have given great suffering. The elephant was carelessly brought from a crane and that could have easily caused an abortion,” she said. Vennila called for proper action to be taken against the medical team and forest officers. “I have complained to the collector. We are going to prepare a complaint against the District Forest Officer,” she said

Sivasami Thamizhan, another local advocate, recounted various instances of mishandling. “A few days ago, an elephant had lost its way and fallen into a ditch, another had diseases. The medical team does not even know how to treat an elephant. Nilgiris, Dindigul and Kovai should have separate veterinarians, and there should be an increase in the number of medical staff. Veterinarians did not know what happened and did not administer the proper treatment,” he alleged. 

The incident preceding this saw a female elephant, estimated to be around the age of 20 years, found dead in the forest near Vadivelampalayam near Coimbatore. The elephant was found with its intestines entirely hanging outside its body.

Coimbatore district has witnessed a series of elephant deaths this year. In June-July 2016, 6 elephants died in just 15 days.

“There were a string of incidents in the past few weeks that claimed the lives of elephants – one died after being electrocuted, another hit by train, one after being tranquilised, one suspected to be after health complications, one suspected case of poaching,” reported TNIE.



Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.