WILDLIFE: ‘Unknown’ ailment kills tusker

WILDLIFE: ‘Unknown’ ailment kills tusker – no expert vets yet ?!!


Alipurduar, Aug. 25: A 50-year-old wild elephant that had been found limping more than four months ago died today, as the vets brought by the forest department failed to diagnose the ailment that had incapacitated the animal.

The tusker died in Khuttimari forest under Sonakhali beat of Jalpaiguri forest division this morning.

The foresters spotted the elephant moving on three legs on April 6.

The animal could not keep the right foreleg on ground.

“The next day, we decided to tranquillise the tusker and administer medicines, although it did not have any injury on the leg. Vets spent several hours, trying to detect the disease, but they couldn’t. Then, the guards kept the animal under close watch and thought that it would recover gradually,” said Kalyan Das, the Jalpaiguri divisional forest officer.

The elephant was darted again on May 28 as its condition deteriorated. The vets administered medicines to the tusker again, but there was no improvement.

The animal could move around only in a small area and it would groan in pain quite often.

“The tusker was more than 50 years old. We tranquillised it twice and it was kept under our close watch. It had a problem on the right foreleg. Since there was no injury mark, the vets could not detect the cause of the ailment,” said Das.

Animal lovers pointed out that the forest department did not have expert vets to treat wild animals.

“The foresters engage doctors from animal resource department for wild animals’ treatment. They should be given proper training so that better treatment could be provided to wild animals,” said Animesh Bose, the programme co-ordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, a wildlife NGO


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