Free health check-ups for captive elephants

A unique project, which aims to assist field veterinarians in
India in providing better healthcare to captive elephants, is
currently underway. The project was conceptualised by a
team of veterinarians under the guidance of senior
elephant veterinarian Prof. Dr. Jacob V. Cheeran and
supported by two Bangalore based NGOs – Asian Nature
Conservation Foundation (ANCF) and Compassion
Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA). Elephant Welfare
Association, Thrissur and Elephant Study Centre, Kerala
Agricultural University are supporting the project.

Feasibility of the project was assessed through a pilot
study, in which a mobile elephant clinic was set up and the
team of veterinarians examined nearly 150 elephants in
the three states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. All
clinical samples from elephants were subjected to on-the-
spot laboratory analyses in the mobile elephant clinic and
an ‘Elephant Health Card’ was given to each of the
elephant examined after analysing the health parameters.
The pilot study received excellent support from owners of
elephants and veterinarians treating the elephants and
has prompted the team to initiate a detailed one-year
project in the whole of India and is likely to continue for
couple of years more.

The goal of the project is to help field veterinarians in
providing better treatment to captive elephants. The
mobile clinic will perform all relevant laboratory tests, which
are otherwise not possible in field conditions. All results will
be entered in the Elephant Health Cards and given for all
elephants examined. The one-year project starting from
November 2006 intends to do health check for nearly 600-
900 captive elephants all over India and will be initiated
and technically supported by ANCF and CUPA. The project
is offering a one-time opportunity for a detailed check-up
for elephants maintained in remote hamlets free of cost.
Dr. David Abraham, Wildlife Veterinarian, Asian Elephant
Research and Conservation Centre is the full-time
research associate working for the project and will be in
charge of the mobile clinic and on the spot and laboratory
analyses of samples.

Individual elephant owners, as well as organisations,
temple trusts and State forest departments maintaining
captive elephants are requested to contact Prof. Dr. Jacob
V. Cheeran for further information and scheduling the visit
of the mobile elephant clinic.
                                                                                         November 2006
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