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Poisons and the Pachyderm
Published by Jacob V Cheeran, 01 Dec 2007
With a variety of synthetic poisons, pesticides and herbal toxins available, elephants have been at the receiving end in the last few years. Veterinarians, para-vet, wildlife managers and conservationists across India are facing situations where they need to react rapidly to cases of elephant poisoning. This reference volume, which lists out every known poison affecting Asian elephants, its symptoms, effects and antidotes, will thus prove handy to all those dealing with poisoned elephants.
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An exponential increase in human population has led to the shrinking of natural animal habitats resulting in an inevitable conflict between the two. In India, elephant habitat is slowly but surely being replaced by human settlements and associated activities like agriculture and industries thereby disrupting traditional elephant paths and reducing their food supply. The decrease in habitat area has been forcing the animals to frequent the adjoining crop fields only to raid and destroy them. This also results in the death of several hundreds of animals and people every year. This rise in the rate of human and animal mortality has become inevitable as Asian elephants have less and less natural habitat to feed and roam. The human-elephant conflict is now the major reason for individual elephant deaths through indiscriminate poisoning, shooting and trapping.

It therefore, becomes imperative to devise and implement strategies which ensure the long-term survival of the species. This publication which is a collaborative attempt by the Wildlife Trust of India and globally acknowledged elephant experts, is meant to serve as a guide for veterinarians, biologists and forest personnel engaged in the conservation of the megaherbivore.

Although we have cited cases from different parts of the country on elephant poisonings, there is no substantial evidence of the kinds of poisons used to carry out the heinous act. This publication deals in detail with various types of poisons used and is meant to serve as a ready-reckoner for detection of toxin used to exterminate the
pachyderm. This report will help serve as a guiding tool for detection of such cases in future. We hope that this collective effort would help reduce the mortality rate due to poisoning in pachyderms and help in the conservation of the species.
Vivek Menon
Executive Director
Wildlife Trust of India
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