The Forest Department will submit a formal reply to the Kerala High Court on Tuesday on the health condition of the injured female wild elephant that is staying put in waters of the Idamalayar reservoir for the past 25 days.
The department will also inform the court on the action taken during the past 25 days to treat and feed the elephant and also the action planned to save the elephant from its agony. In this connection an expert team comprising veterinarians, wildlife experts and forest officials will diagnose the condition of the elephant on Sunday.
The High Court intervened in the issue following a petition from Daya, an NGO. The animal is being tended to on daily basis by Forest Department officials attached to the Idamalayar Forest Range office. The elephant which is unable to forage is being fed with fruits and palm fronds which it readily accepts from the forest officials.
Chief Wildlife Warden, G. Harikumar, told The Hindu that preliminary diagnosis of the elephant showed that it has a serious injury in its left foreleg. The leg is badly swollen and it is limping heavily. He said that it is not clear why the elephant chose to take refuge in the waters of the reservoir.
But the animal keeps standing in the water most of the time and occasionally comes out of it for short breaks. Mr. Harikumar said that the health condition of the animal has appreciably improved compared to the condition in which it was first found. It has now got used to the forest officials who arrive there regularly to provide food.
The officials have to travel more than one km in a boat from the dam site to reach the location where the elephant stands. Initially on prescription from a veterinary official, some oral medication was administered by concealing it in pineapples given as food to the elephant.
But it was later withdrawn since it was suspected that the animal was allergic to the medicines.
Animal rescue experts said that the elephant standing continuously in water can create other health problems. But rescuing and relocating the elephant from the site where it presently stands will be a herculean task.
The location is such that it will be difficult to bring in cranes or other such equipment. But the Forest Department is doing its best to ensure the well-being of the injured animal, Mr. Harikumar said.
The course of action to be taken will be based on the report to be submitted by the expert committee after its visit on Sunday, he said.
It was Adivasis of the area who first found the elephant in the reservoir.
On noticing that it was injured, they informed the Edamalayar Range Forest officials about it. Adivasis told The Hindu that as they did not see any external injuries, they suspect dislocation or fracture of the affected forelimb.