Healthcare a big casualty at Sakrebailu jumbo camp

Healthcare a big casualty at Sakrebailu jumbo camp

The death of 26-year old male elephant Naganna at Sakrebailu elephant camp recently has raised concerns about healthcare facilities available in the camp, 14 km from Shivamogga city.

Sources in the camp said the absence of a basic veterinary clinic in the camp has turned out to be a major hurdle for veterinarians to provide timely and quality healthcare to the tuskers. With the death of Naganna, the number of elephants has come down to 24.

Sources in Forest Department (Wildlife), Shivamogga Division, said nine elephants died in the camp in just two years.

Among them, two died of age-related problems and the remaining died of health issues, infighting, etc. The death of three baby elephants, including Bharathi and Balaji, has become a matter of concern. Elephants Indira, Kapila died of old age, while Rajendra, Bheema and Naganna died in their mid-20s.

Speaking to DH, veterinary officer at Sakrebailu elephant camp Vinay said though there is a veterinary clinic in the camp, it has no basic medical equipment needed to treat the elephants. “We need a steriliser, refrigeration, blood analyser, microscope, urine analyser, a proper laboratory setting, drug storage racks, a computer, etc.

He pointed out that a post-mortem kit is essential to conduct autopsy on dead elephants in the camp.

“Many times, I am forced to take the help of the local butcher to cut the bodies of dead elephants. The situation is more or less same in other elephant camps in the state,” he added.

The Karnataka High Court had asked the state to file an affidavit regarding the number of elephant camps run by the state and facilities there.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H T Narendra Prasad issued this direction after hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by city-based advocate N P Amrutesh. The court demanded that the affidavit be filed within four weeks.

The court also asked the government advocate to provide information on the availability of veterinarians in elephant camps. The advocate has urged the state to ensure proper food, water and medical aid to pachyderms at the camps run by the Forest department.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Chandrashekhar said elephants died for various reasons. Measures have been taken to provide quality healthcare to the elephants, he added.