No darts, forest officials treat sick elephant in Jhargram with
Debraj Mitra, Telegraph India
September 9, 2023
A sick elephant was treated back to health by forest personnel in Jhargram
Usually, big animals like elephants have to be tranquillised before they
can be treated. But in this case, the pachyderm was not darted. It was
instead given medicine-laced food, said forest officials.
On September 3, a herd of elephants was moving from the Lodhashuli range to
the Manikpara range in the Jhargram forest division. One elephant in the
herd, an adult male, was limping.
The elephant was seen limping in a clip shared on the forest department’s
social media handles. The front right leg was hardly touching the ground.
“The elephant was literally walking on the three remaining legs. It looked
like the animal was in a lot of pain,” said a forest official.
As the herd moved towards the Kalaikunda range in the neighbouring
Kharagpur division, the injured elephant was left behind.
It was then that a team led by Pankaj Suryavanshi, the divisional forest
officer of Jhargram division, reached the spot.
“On the first day, we gave bananas to the elephant. We wanted to see if it
was willing to eat. The next morning, the elephant was given bananas again.
But this time, the fruits were laced with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory
medicines,” said the DFO.
Although limping, the jumbo had reached the Kalaikunda range of the
Kharagpur division when it was given the medicine-laced fruits.
For the next couple of days, it was constantly monitored by elephant
trackers and members of the hulah party.
On the evening of September 7, it came back to Manikpara range near
Borashuli village, where it was first spotted in pain.
On September 8 morning, it was spotted at another beat called Kusumghati in
the same range. The same afternoon, the elephant was spotted walking on the
road between two forests. “It was walking almost normally. There was hardly
any limping,” said Suryavanshi.
Forest officials said the treatment without tranquillisation could be a
template for the future.
“Darting a big animal is always risky. There can be multiple complications.
Not to speak of the elaborate procedure that has to be followed before
tranquillisation. It is always better if a sick animal can be treated
without being darted. We recently treated an elephant in north Bengal in
the same way,” said Debal Ray, chief wildlife warden of Bengal.
An elephant that was tranquillised by foresters in Jhargram on the morning
of July 1 died within hours of being taken to the zoological park of the
Jungle Mahal town. The elephant had allegedly killed several persons in the
days before, prompting the forest department to go for darting.