Last week, India’s first hospital dedicated solely to elephants opened its doors. Created by the nonprofit organization Wildlife SOS, the hospital will treat sick, old, and injured elephants in the historic Hindu town of Mathura in the Uttar Pradesh state. It has several pieces of important equipment for treating the elephants including thermal imaging, ultrasonography, and tranquilization devices.
In India elephants are sacred animals. Despite this, they are often severely abused. Indian elephants are endangered and have a population estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000. They face many dangers: habitat fragmentation, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict. Examples of the threats elephants face in India include:
- Being held captive to protect coffee workers and crops
- Being treated like objects for entertainment
- Being killed by speeding trains
- Getting electrocuted by electric fencing
In a ceremony on Friday, November 16, Wildlife SOS inaugurated the new hospital.
“I think by building a hospital we are underlining the fact that elephants need welfare measures as much as any other animal,” Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, told Reuters TV.
The facility is geared up with loads of special tools and medicine to help the elephants recover and live healthier lives once they have been rescued. It also has an observation deck so medical caregivers and students can learn about taking care of elephants and staff can continue to develop knowledge of best-practices for elephant care. This new facility is a great step forward to providing medical treatment and comfort to elephants who have unfortunately been ripped from their families, pushed out of their habitats, and abused, neglected, and tortured by humans.