Free health camp in Delhi for captive elephants

January 6th, 2011 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) A free health camp for captive elephants was organised here Thursday by the government’s Project Elephant to evaluate the health status of the animals.Special reflectors to be fitted on to the elephants to reduce the chances of road accidents were distributed in the camp organised in Sangam Vihar area of south Delhi.

There are about 20 captive elephants in the national capital region (NCR).

The one-day camp was held in collaboration with the NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

“Employed during social and religious functions, the pachyderm face health hazards from walking on tar roads and use of polluted water among other unnatural conditions, including traffic that they face in the cities,” the NGO said.

The camp was attended by senior government officials, including the inspector general of forests, inspector general wildlife, director general wildlife, additional director general wildlife, joint director forests and the chief wildlife warden of Delhi.

A two-member veterinary team of the NGO attended to the animals at the camp.

The elephants were dewormed, their eyesight checked and they were provided treatment for any injuries and ailments, the NGO said.

“Delhi is not suitable for elephants to live in. The humidity levels are much lower than required and there is dearth of clean water and fresh air, making them more prone to various ailments that they would not normally face in their natural habitat,” said N.V.K. Ashraf, chief operating officer and chief veterinarian of WTI.

“Also, elephants require a constant supply of food, which is not catered for in their captive existence where they are fed twice or thrice a day. So, regular health examination, treatment and proper husbandry measures are necessary,” he said.

To encourage the practice of regular check-ups of the elephants, health cards were distributed to the owners.

“Using these health cards, the attending veterinarians will be able to keep track of the ailments, have a reference to medical history and ensure appropriate and timely care for their animals,” he added.

WTI has been running a Captive Elephant Welfare Project since 2001. Similar health camps have been organised in a number of states, including Assam, Bihar, Kerala and Rajasthan, in the past.

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