Article from the book "Elephant and the Mahout"         
                                   Prof. Dr. Jacob V. Cheeran

A few points reproduced from my article in the book "Anayum
Pappanum" which can be translated as "Elephant and the Mahout"
published by the Elephant Welfare Association 2006.

1.The observer should have some basic knowledge about
the normal behaviour of elephants. Then only, naturally he
will be able to judge the abnormal behaviour.

2. Normally elephant is very active moving one of its body
parts always and shifting weight from the limb to limb.
3.Tip of the trunk should always be moist . Dry and
cracked trunk tip is a sign of ill health.

4. Observe for external injuries, oedema, swellings,
abscesses, ulcers, also rope or chain injuries.

5.Upper palate should be rosy pink. Pale or white colour
indicate anaemia.

6.Eyes are always moist and bright. There should not be
any white patches on eye ball.

7.White discharge from the trunk is very serious. It may be
simple sinusitis or even tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is very
common in elephants, especially among those ones which
commonly comes in contact with human beings.

8.The brisket region should be warm to touch.

9. Check the nails. Over-grown nails, worn-out nails,
cracks both vertical and horizontal all shows poor
management practices.

10. Elephant skins are normally with folds. But excess folds
may indicate, lack of watering (dehydration), debility, lack
of bathing etc.
                                                                                          November 2006

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