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MVS Unit Treats Two Injured Male Elephants in Nambor-Karbi Anglong Landscape
Assam, December 12, 2016: A Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) has successfully provided emergency treatment to two adult male elephants in the Nambor-Karbi Anglong landscape, in two major in situ interventions within just 48 hours, over the last week.

The MVS team and forest department personnel providing emergency treatment to the injured elephant in Nambor WLS

The first incident took place near the village of Silonijan in Karbi Anglong. Mr Bibison Tokbi, Forest Range Officer of Silonijan (Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council) informed WTI-JTEF veterinarian Dr Daoharu Baro about an injured adult elephant that had been seen on National Highway 37, blocking traffic as well as key access points to the village, creating a sense of panic among local residents. Reports suggested that the animal had a visible external wound; it was seen retreating into Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary by day and emerging near the village at night.

Having tracked the injured elephant for several days with animal keeper Raju Teron and WTI-JTEF project team member Borsali Teron, Dr Baro finally spotted the animal at around 6am on December 9. The MVS team followed the elephant, which was heading into the deep forests of Nambor WLS. A prominent abscess could be seen on its right hind leg and Dr Baro determined that it needed immediate treatment. Accordingly, he chemically immobilised the elephant and performed an in situ surgical intervention.

“There was a chronic abscess on its hind leg due to an external injury; one that I strongly suspect was inflicted by a jathi, a sharp locally made weapon, during a conflict situation” Dr Baro said. “The operation took 45 minutes and was followed by supportive treatment. The animal returned to the forest within a few hours of recovery.”

A team from the forest department was asked to keep the elephant under post-operative observation. It was seen in Nambor WLS that night and in an adjoining tea garden the next morning, and is reported to be recovering well.

The MVS team treating another injured elephant on site, under the Bokiyal forest beat, Golaghat Forest Division

In the second incident, Mr P Das, Range Forest Officer of the Golaghat Division, informed the MVS team about the presence of an injured male elephant in the Bokiyal forest beat. The team located the limping elephant on December 8; however, since it was moving about with an uninjured elephant, it was deemed appropriate to bring the forest department’s kumki elephants (captive, trained elephants) to isolate the injured animal before attempting treatment.

As Dr Daoharu’s team was involved with the Silonijan incident the following day, an MVS team from IFAW-WTI’s Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), led by Dr Panjit Basumatary, attended to the case. The elephant had, however, moved deep into the forest and there was no opportunity to intervene.

In the early hours of December 10 the RFO informed Dr Baro that the injured elephant had been sighted alone. The MVS unit rushed to the spot and was able to chemically immobilise the animal for observation and treatment. “There was no open wound or visible swelling in this instance”, Dr Baro said, “but we could see that the elephant could not put its weight on the right forelimb. A fracture of the carpal bone was suspected and the appropriate treatment provided.” 
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