An international animal charity rescued an elephant forced to drink alcohol by an abusive owner to “control” it.
Decorated with big ornamental equipment, the Indian elephant, Emma, 40 years old, was forced in order to walk more than 300 miles in lousy health. Wildlife SOS India said the owner used the elephant to begging for adventurous activities, religious processions, weddings, and riding for tourists.
In the evening, Emma was “under tight custody,” preventing the elephant from lying down and resting.
Wildlife SOS said: “She was frequently forced to drink liquor to take her to work despite having injuries in her legs.
After the elephant was illegally trafficked across the state border to Jharkhand, eastern India, the Forest Department caught up to Emma’s plight. They intervened, accusing her of her owner of negligence and wildlife law violation.
Emma’s bad owners have told Forest Department officials that they cannot afford medical care for the ailing elephant. Officials found that the elephant had followed an unhealthy diet with fried and sweets foods.
Wildlife SOS stated that the forced use of alcohol and tobacco by private owners on captive elephants as a “home remedy” for health complaints is not strange.
In fact, elephants cannot metabolize alcohol, and it is toxic to animals, the officials said. “Such ruthlessness can also cause intoxication, which can lead to elephants running wildly in a crowded area, endangering the lives of innocent people.”
The ranger decided to rush Emma to the elephant hospital in Wildlife SOS due to her deteriorating health.
After receiving written permission from the heads of wildlife wardens of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand states, the nonprofit planned to transport the ailing elephant to the elephant hospital in Mathura for urgent medical care. A big movement happened on New Year’s Eve 2020.
A group of Wildlife SOS veterinarians and elephant caregivers made the 1,000 miles journey to Jharkhand in a specially equipped “elephant ambulance” before making the return journey with Emma for a few days.
Wildlife SOS CEO and co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan said: “We have to act immediately so Emma can get the medical care she desperately needs. The fact that she was forced to drink by her employer shows the extreme cruelty and negligence she has faced over the years.
Wildlife SOS followed Emma’s journey from Jharkhand to the hospital & beyond in a series of posts on their website.
After Emma’s medical examinations, veterinarians diagnosed chronic osteoarthritis and hip abscess. They found fragments of sharp metal, stone, and glass on her injured foot.
The elephant has been immunocompromised due to malnutrition for decades and has a habit of lifting the forelimbs to “compensate for the severe leg pain caused by years of abuse.” As a result, the joints of her forelimbs degenerated.
Wildlife SOS secretary and co-founder Geeta Seshamani said: “We are relieved that Emma reached safely at the Elephant Hospital. Because her condition is quite critical, our veterinarians have begun medical treatment for her.
“Years of negligence and abuse have caused some harm to her health,” stated Wildlife SOS Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Ilayaraja.
Fortunately, Emma will never be subjected to such conditions again.
On January 12, Emma’s care team shared the update: ‘Cauliflower, watermelon, and some pumpkins … here are a few of Emma’s favorites.
They wrote: ‘Emma underwent examinations at the Elephant Hospital with great patience. “She is taking time to get used to her surroundings but has become calmer with each passing day.”
Wildlife SOS has been in partnership with governments and indigenous communities to protect wildlife across India since 1998.
Their outreach projects aim to promote conservation and combat poaching, supporting former poachers to have an alternative, sustainable income source.