BANGALORE: The State Forest Department is planning to seek the assistance of veterinarians of North Carolina Zoo, USA, who conducted the cataract surgery on a 37-year-old male elephant in November last, to restore the vision of three Dasara elephants.
In fact, three elephants, including Balarama, which has been carrying the golden howdah during the grand finale of the world-famous Dasara festival of Mysore for the last 13 years, are suffering from chronic cataract. The doctors are not in a position to do anything due to lack of technical expertise.
Dr Nagaraj, who takes care of Dasara jumbos, said they had not tried performing the cataract surgery on the tamed elephants due to lack of expertise. The jumbos developed cataract because of injuries suffered when they were wandering in forests or rough handling by mahouts.” The other two elephants which had developed cataract are Kokila and Kavita.
When contacted, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B K Singh said, “I will talk to the authorities of the North Carolina Zoo to take details of doctors who successfully performed the cataract surgery on a male elephant.
Through the state government, we will request them to come here to conduct the surgery on the three Dasara elephants or else we will send a team of doctors to learn the technique of conducting the surgery on jumbos. I am optimistic that the veterinarians of North Carolina Zoo will share scientific knowledge. If needed, the department is ready to sign a MoU with that zoo.”