A terminally ill 55-year-old female elephant may face euthanasia as the last option in case veterinarians fail to cure the disease that the animal has been suffering since long.
The jumbo is said to be in excruciating pain because of multiple health issues, including foot disease, abscess and infection. Now in its final stages of life, the elephant writhes in agony as doctors prepare to revisit the strategy to cure the animal.
The aged ailing female tusker, Lakshmi, is currently in the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve in the hill state of Uttarakhand. The government in Uttarakhand on Monday set up a panel of experts that will weigh in on all options of treating the elephant.
Talking to DH, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Uttarakhand, Jai Raj, said the priority was to save the elephant's life. He added that euthanasia will be the last resort. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, a mortally injured, captive animal can be euthanised by concerned government officials.
Vivek Pandey, Chief Conservator of Forest of Kumaon region in Uttarakhand, confirming the formation of the panel, told DH that members from the Mathura-based Wildlife SOS-Elephant Conservation and Care Centre also have been included in it.
“Last year, veterinarian from South Africa Dr Kobus Rath had also examined Lakshmi,” Pandey said. Lakshmi was among the eight elephants seized by the government from individuals in the state.
The measure by the government to take custody of the elephants followed the directions from the Uttarakhand High Court that was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding encroachments around Corbett Tiger Reserve. “The average lifespan of an elephant is around 60 years,” Vivek Pandey said.