An injured female wild elephant that took refuge in the reservoir of the Edamalayar Dam in Ernakulam district a week ago after getting isolated from its herd is reluctant to return to the forests. The elephant that limped back into the forests on Saturday morning was found back in the reservoir on Sunday morning

It was Adivasis of the area who found the elephant in the reservoir some 10 kms from the dam site. On noticing that it was injured they informed the Edamalayar Range Forest officers about it. A team from the Ennakkal forest station led by Forest Range Officer K.T. Pious soon rushed to the scene to probe ways to rescue the animal and send it back to the forest.

But the elephant stayed put in the waters and was starving. Forest officers soon brought heaps of palm fronds and reed leaves and offered it to the animal. But the elephant refused it. A day afterwards it slowly started accepting food offered. The forest officers then noticed that the elephant had a bad swelling in one of its legs.

In the interim, the officers contacted the Forest Veterinary Officer, Saseendra Dev at Konni and mailed him photos of the elephant. Based on the photos, Dr. Dev presumed the elephant should be between 15 and 20 years of age. He then prescribed the tablet R-compound for the injured animal. Once the elephant started accepting food, the forest officers concealed the tablet in pineapples which the elephant readily consumed on being offered. Forester Sudeesh Kumar said that the elephant was administered 40 tablets each day in this manner for six days. It was also provided with ample food.

Regained strength

As it regained strength it came out of the waters on Saturday morning and was seen limping away up the steep hills and disappear into the forest foliage. But on Sunday morning it was back in the reservoir. Forest officers said that the elephant appears to be unable to carry on its own in the forest.

Usually other members of the herd come back to rescue injured elephants from their herd. But in this case, the herd to which it belonged seems to have completely ignored it. No decision has been taken to sedate the elephant and rehabilitate it at some rescue centre of the Forest Department. The forest officers are giving it another opportunity to return to the wild.

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