BENGALURU: After more than 60 days, the wounded elephant Sidda was hefted up by a crane and moved to a temporary kraal [enclosure] set up by the Madras Engineering Group [MEG] of the Indian Army at Manchanabele.
The kraal was built just a few feet from where Sidda was lying on his side for the past 15 days but the operation required all the expertise of MEG, also called the Madras Sappers, the Karnataka Forest Department and a couple of wildlife NGOs.
The lifting of the pachyderm was a delicate operation -- its foreleg was broken and pus-filled -- that took 17 hours, beginning at 11.30 am Wednesday and ending 4.30 am Thursday.
Sidda is now poised suspended a few feet from the ground, and vets are fretting about to treat him at last.
Wild elephant Sidda's ordeal began on August 30 when he broke his right forelimb while being chased away by villagers. It was first treated and shifted to the Savandurga Reserve Forest. But in the second week of September, he was spotted spending a lot of time in the backwaters of the Manchabele reservoir. Sidda's injuries had worsened and he was using the water to alleviate his pain.
Foresters were constrained in treating Sidda as tranquilisation was not advisable due to his poor health. Since then, he was being fed and given medication to ease the pain. But Sidda began to weaken and couldn't stay up anymore. He lay down on his right side, his injured forelimb pus-filled.
Today's operation was the second attempt to use a crane to shift Sidda. The rescuers tried to also build a wooden structure to support the elephant but being a wild elephant Sidda smashed the poles loose.
Desperate to save Sidda, the Forest Department turned to the Army's sappers.