The photograph of an injured elephant lying unattended,which was widely circulated in the media,has not only gained sympathy from animal lovers across the city but also managed to get the authorities into action. On Thursday,more than 50 people,including volunteers and officials from various departments,gathered at the site at Nigdi near Appu Ghar,where the injured elephant,Chanchal,had been lying for the past three days. She was not able to move or walk because of an injury on one of her legs and had been abandoned by its owner,a mahaut. The elephant is female and is around 40-year-old.
Anil Kumar Khaire,director,PCMC Zoo,said there were three vets,one senior and two assistants,attending to the elephant for the past two days. The forest department decided to shift her,he said.
I was informed about the elephant by a person I know who stays in the same area. I and Manoj Oswal from People for Animals visited the site on Wednesday evening. Though we informed the forest officials,but no concrete action was taken then. However,things gained momentum on Thursday morning, said Adiya Paranjape,Friends of Animals. Some representatives from the Forest Department reached the spot around 7.30 am,he added. By 10 am,officials from PCMC Fire Brigade,PCMC Zoo,PCMC Disaster Management,various animal activists and volunteers also reached.
The biggest question was where to shift the animal to. First,it was decided that Chanchal would be moved to the Katraj Zoo. However,when vet Dr Satish Gore declared that she had contracted an infection and shifting her to the zoo would put the health of other animals at risk,the forest officials decided to shift her to Manikdoh Rescue Centre in Junnar. The centre is associated with Wildlife SOS,a group of animal experts who have a 24-hour vet to cater to wild animals, said Oswal,adding that it was because of the collective support and teamwork of the departments that the rescue operation could be carried out smoothly.
About six mahouts,all from the same family,were called from Mumbai. They reached around 4 pm and being experts,they knew how to lift the animal,where to tie the belt without causing harm to the animal, said Paranjape. The rescue operation finished around 4.30 pm.
Unfortunately,as Chanchal lay unattended for three days,one of her eyes is partially damaged besides some of her skin. Paranjape said though the vets are hoping that Chanchal will recover,the mahouts say she has suffered paralysis.