COIMBATORE: A ten-year-old tusker with an injury in the mouth collapsed near the tea fields at Charembadi forest range near Pandalur in The Nilgiris on Tuesday. A team of veterinarians were now administering treatment for him since 12 pm on Tuesday.
Lack of full-time veterinarians in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) was the reason treatment for the injured animal had to be pushed to the afternoon even though he was spotted by a team of forest staff around 7 30 am. The Pandalur forest department brought in animal husbandry veterinarians David Mohan from Gudalur and Prabhu from Cherampadi and two veterinarians from Muthunga wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad in neighbouring State of Kerala.
According to C Manokaran Forest Range Officer (In charge), Cherambadi forest, “The team found that the animal is suffering from mouth ulcer. They administrated seven bottles of glucose, along with multi-vitamins and minerals, to improve his health. The treatment lasted for six hours. However, there has been only little improvement as the animal was still unable to stood on its own.”
As veterinarians expressed hope over the jumbo’s condition becoming better through the night, a team was set up to monitor him. However, lack of a permanent veterinarian in The Nilgiris for the past four months had been of great inconvenience in treating sick and injured animals on time.
According to K Kalidass, founder of Osai, “Usually, former MTR veterinarian E Vijayaragavan attended to animals within the Reserve and across Nilgiris district in case of an emergency. He also was called on for treatment of elephants at the Theppakkadu camp. However, he was transferred to Tirupur four months ago. Since then, his post here has remained vacant.” Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Forest Veterinary N S Manokaran treated the animals and conducted autopsy within the Coimbatore Forest Division and Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Hence, he too was unavailable to attend to animals here, added Kalidass.
“We have been demanding for a permanent veterinarian to be posted for MTR since the Reserve also had over 20 captive elephants. Similarly, the veterinarian post was left unfilled in Kalakkad Mundanthurai and in Madurai Forest Division too,” he pointed out. “As there were no veterinarians available with the Forest department, the posts should be filled though the Animal Husbandry department. We have written several letter to the latter to deputise their veterinarians in the forests here. However, it has been kept pending for long. Even veterinarians hesitate to take up a post to treat wild animals, fearing controversies,” he explained.