New Delhi, April 18 (IANSlife) Daisy, a 50-year-old begging elephant was one of the last captive elephants of Delhi. She was rescued in April 2019, after having suffered years of abuse and torture in isolation. Her body was riddled with bull hook (ankush) wounds and she was suffering from severe foot ailments and blindness.
Now almost a year later, Daisy is well on her recovery journey and has finally found a herd to call her own at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, Haryana.
In a rescue operation that was led by the Haryana Forest Department and the Delhi Forest De-partment in April 2019, 50-year-old Daisy was translocated to Wildlife SOS’ Ch. Surinder Singh Elephant Rehabilitation Centre in Yamunanagar, Haryana for lifetime care and retirement.
She was used for begging and wedding processions in the busy streets of Delhi. Living in a cramped city was no easy task and it came at a great mental and physical cost to Daisy. The blaring sounds of the chronically traffic-jammed roads of Delhi caused her tremendous mental stress. However, she had no choice but to cooperate, for any ‘disobedience’ of her keeper’s command would lead to a painful blow from his ankush.
Her poor health condition shows just how hard she worked and how poorly she was cared for. Daisy’s body is riddled with wounds from her past and she has overgrown footpads and cracked toenails from years of walking on hot, tarred roads. She is also blind in her right eye and has partial blindness in the other.
Daisy’s condition is representative of nearly 2500 elephants in India, who suffer deprived lives in captivity giving tourists rides, performing at circuses, weddings & begging on streets.
Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, Senior Veterinarian, Wildlife SOS, said, “Daisy is presently undergoing treatment for toenail abscesses on both her forelimbs which are regularly cleaned and dressed with antiseptic ointment and turmeric. She is being given medicated foot baths of epsom salt and turmeric to aid the fast recovery of her torn and delicate footpads and wounded cuticles.”
Much like humans, elephants are social animals and separation from their herd tends to have a grave impact on their psychological well-being. For decades, Daisy too had been deprived of the chance to interact with other elephants, forcing her to endure a lone and cruel life. Today, her life is filled with love and hope as Daisy has found her own herd, comprising of four other rescued ele-phants residing at the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, Haryana.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS said, “Elephants are highly intelligent, social beings and form extremely strong familial bonds with one another, both in the wild and in captivity. Being separated from the herd can be immensely stressful and traumatic for an elephant. Thus, it makes me very happy that we are able to give Daisy a new family. Their companionship has had a positive influence on her, both physically and emotionally.”
Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder & Secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “As we celebrate Daisy’s first rescue anniversary, we are delighted to witness her healing journey. She is enjoying her retirement in the lush green forest of our elephant center. We are grateful to the Delhi Forest Department and Haryana Forest Department for entrusting us to provide Daisy the necessary veterinary care.”
‘Save the Elephant Day’, 16th April, aims to raise awareness of the threats that elephants face and is a pledge to help protect them. With a population of 23,000 to 27,000 Asian elephants, India remains the last stronghold of the species. Thus, the survival of the entire species is critically linked with its survival in India.
In a conservation ‘win’ for the endangered Asian elephants, the species was recently added to Appendix I of UN Convention on Migratory Species at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13, 2020) hosted in Gandhinagar, India. This will merit heightened conservation and protection measures for the species.