Perhaps, this is the first time in recent times that a wild elephant is treated just through restraining its movement by deploying kumkis and thereby tying all its hind and rear legs to trees using large ropes at a coffee plantation in Marthoma Nagar near Gudalur forest division. Tranquilisers weren’t used as the animal was already weak.
The 30-year-old elephant, fondly called by the Forest Department as ‘Silver Monstera’ had deep wounds near its tail area caused presumably in a fight with another elephant.
The elephant earned this peculiar name as it frequented the Silver Cloud Tea Estate and had a liking for ‘Monstera deliciosa’ plants grown in the locality. Silver Monstera was treated by the Forest Department on and off over the last few years.
“The animal was so far given oral medication with antibiotics and medicines kept inside fruits. Every time after treatment, the animal showed some improvement. Yet, the injury didn’t heal and rather got bigger as the animal rubbed against trees and hard surfaces,” said G Ramakrishnan, Gudalur Forest Range Officer.
As the injury got aggravated, raising concern for its life, the Forest Department decided to capture the non-problematic elephant for treatment under confinement.
“The elephant was restrained by deploying kumkis and it was further immobilised by tying with ropes. Then, the veterinarians risked themselves to treat the animal by applying medicine on its wound. Rains hampered shifting of Silver Monstera to Theppakadu Elephant Camp, where a kraal is in place for its confinement,” said an official.
The elephant is likely to be boarded in a truck on Thursday morning. The animal may escape sedation if it continues to co-operate during the shifting operation also, added the official. A frontline team has been deployed to monitor the animal under the supervision of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests I Anwardeen and District Forest Officer, Gudalur Division, Kommu Omkaram.