Green Minute News

A critically ill 65 year old elephant, Bella, was rescued in a four day long operation and brought in an elephant ambulance to India’s only Elephant Hospital in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh for treatment.

Unfortunately, Bella has passed away very early today. She could not survive the rigours of her total neglect and harassment by her care takers as an elephant in captivity at Sitapur.

The elephant had suffered from severe foot-rot, osteoarthritis and bedsores. Her condition was representative and demonstrated the condition of nearly 2500 captive elephants in India, who suffer deprived lives in giving tourists rides, performing at circuses, temples, weddings and begging on streets.

65 year old elephant Bella is suffering from severe ailments and is in need of critical care

Recently, in a joint operation by Wildlife SOS and Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, this captive elephant was rescued from Sitapur. The elephant had undergone severe neglect by its caretakers and also from walking on hot tar roads.

The sick elephant was provided critical medical support for 72 hours, after which the elephant stood up and could move a bit. Once she was certified for travel by UP forest officials, she was transported in an elephant ambulance from Sitapur to Mathura for urgent medical care.

The Wildlife SOS vet team providing on-site treatment to ailing elephant, Bella

Once the elephant reached the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital, she was given a soft mud and straw bed to lie down for rest and recover from the journey. A dedicated team of experienced elephant vets and elephant care staff carried out radiology, blood, urine tests to assess her health status. Dr Ilayaraja, Deputy Director had observed, “The elephant has several painful, septic wounds on shoulder and hip regions and bed sores from lying in the same position that need frequent dressing. We are providing laser therapy to the joints to bring relief. Her progress is being closely monitored for now.”

Bella steps into freedom at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital

Meanwhile, forest officials had initiated legal action against those people responsible for the elephant’s severe abuse and neglect and had confiscated the elephant before sending it for treatment. It is suspected that the elephant was sold into captivity as a young calf and has since been used as a riding elephant in weddings and processions in Sitapur and also for begging.

The Wildlife SOS veterinarians conducting laser therapy treatment on Bella to help ease the stiffness in her joints

Experts say the life of a “riding elephant” is filled with excruciating pain and labor with little or no access to medical help, nutritious food and fresh water. They are trained using spears, spiked chains and bull hooks that instill severe pain and fear to break the animal’s spirit. The elephants are worked to the bone with no regard for their welfare.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO Wildlife SOS said, “The Elephant Hospital and Elephant Ambulance have been useful in helping such critically ill elephants.” While Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and Secretary had said, “The elephant is severely malnourished and suffering from acute medical issues. The next few days are very critical for her and we are hopeful we can treat her chronic abscesses and rotting footpad.” Bella could not sadly survive this crucial period.

Bella has been put on intensive care routine at the Wildlife SOS Hospital

Wildlife SOS has established India’s first Elephant Hospital in collaboration with Uttar Pradesh Forest Department in Mathura, about 20 miles from the Taj Mahal. The Hospital is located adjacent to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre which is home to over 22 rescued elephants and is equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities.

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