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TECHNIQUES & PROCEDURE
FOR POST-MORTEM OF
ELEPHANTS

INTRODUCTION

The utility of domesticated elephants to man as a source of animal
energy, tourism promotion activity and for conventional festivities is
on the increase. But, along with that, the management of this
species has become all the more important since they are
susceptible to various injuries and diseases. The mortality of
elephants is also brought to the notice of the concerned
departments more often than in olden days. The professionals,
including the veterinarians should be equipped both with facilities
for post-mortem and up to date information about this species. In
India, data on prevalence of diseases in wild animals is almost
non-existent and properly conducted post-mortem can help in
bridging the gap.

A systematic procedure and an unhurried technique must be
followed to arrive at a correct diagnosis. For a thorough systematic
necropsy examination, skill of the vets, the method and the
implements to be used should be standardised. No systematic
procedure has so far been prescribed for elephants suitable to
Indian conditions. Elephants being larger in size need special
attention and expertise in dissecting and it is better to follow a
pattern, which suits to all situations. Hence, it is necessary to
systematise the post-mortem procedure for improving the efficacy
of learning process and improve our knowledge regarding
elephants.

Post-mortem of elephant is a laborious task. On many occasions
the carcass would have decomposed and may not be yield any
useful information on post-mortem. But whatever possible should
still be done. Poaching is another important factor in elephant post-
mortem and we recommend the use of a metal detector in addition
to eliciting information and conducting local investigation.
This handbook is intended for the veterinarians, wildlife biologists
and forest officers working in this field. Some of the pathological
changes are described in purely technical terms. This is to avoid
the ambiguity in interpreting the findings.

Our special thanks to Ms. Sabitha and Mr. Sreejith T. Chandran
who helped to document the majority of the work related to this
handbook. We also thank Mr. S.S. Bist, IGF & Director of Project
Elephant, who has thoroughly revised and edited the manuscript to
enhance its utility for the users.
-Dr. Jacob V. Cheeran  – Dr. N. Diwakaran Nair

                                                       
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