It’s finally azadi for 55-year-old Mohan, who suffered abuse at the hands of his captors for 50 long years, earning him the epithet of the “unluckiest elephant in the world”.
His rescue could be made possible on Thursday after persistent efforts since July 2014 by Wildlife SOS—a non-profit organisation that works for the welfare and rescue of animals.
Elephant veterinarian Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, who examined Mohan, found him to be severely emaciated and wounded due to malnutrition and neglect.
“The digestive system has been infested with worms and his liver functioning is impaired. We are getting ready with proper equipment for diagnosis and treatment along with water baths, pools for hydrotherapy and a staff of full-time veterinarians, who are already charting out a strict regimen,” he said.
Mohan’s tale of woes began when he got poached from the wild as a calf and was separated from his herd. He was tied up and beaten to break his spirit (a practice that renders an elephant trainable) after which he was sold off to be used as a begging elephant.
He spent the majority of his life in the villages near Lucknow, walking the streets with his keeper, begging for money or begging outside temples or hired out to be used for wedding ceremonies.
“The severe scars and puncture wounds on Mohan’s body and his emaciated condition confirm the extensive torture and neglect he has endured over the years,” said Dr Khadpekar.
Narrating the problems faced while rescuing the pachyderm, Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “Repeated attempts by the forest department, police and Wildlife SOS to rescue the elephant met with hostile and violent mob, as well as more than 20 delays in court proceedings.”
However, in early September a “sympathetic” Bench of the Lucknow High Court took note of Mohan’s deteriorating health and the years of cruelty meted out to him by his owners and finally issued a directive that the jumbo be shifted forthwith to the Elephant Care Center in Mathura run by Wildlife SOS for long-term specialised medical treatment and lifetime care.
Mohan finally arrived there on Thursday in an elephant ambulance. For Kartick Satyanarayan, another co-founder of Wildlife SOS, it is not just about the medical care but also the “freedom to roam free in a spacious enclosure and be fed with healthy and nutritious fodder, fruits and vegetables and also have other elephants to socialise with to ensure his overall physical and psychological recovery in his new home.” – The Pioneer, 23 September 2016