Elephant Kalpana: A year of freedom to celebrate!

New Delhi, April 3 (IANSlife) 45-year-old Kalpana, previously a begging elephant, is celebrating a year of freedom at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation & Care Centre in Mathura! Kalpanas rescue in 2019 was brought to the attention of millions.

A partially blind and exhausted Kalpana would walk for hours endlessly, begging for alms on busy highways. In 2019, She was found abandoned by her owner in the middle of the night without food or water in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, when escalating medical issues left her unable to work long hours. Forest Department and Wildlife SOS rescued Kalpana and brought her to the Elephant Hospital in Mathura.

Years of neglect and abuse had left her with chronic osteoarthritis, uneven and cracked foot-pads and abscesses. She was put on a strict and nutrition rich diet of greens, fruits, multivitamins and nutrient supplements and received regular treatment by a team of expert veterinarians. She was also introduced to two newly rescued elephants Holly and Karma; the three have formed an inseparable bond.

Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, Assistant Director – Veterinary and Research, Wildlife SOS, said, “As part of her on-going treatment, Kalpana is undergoing laser therapy sessions for her osteoarthritis and her toenail abscess is regularly cleaned and dressed with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ointments. We are also providing her with supplements to help boost her immunity and build inner strength.”

To celebrate Kalpana’s rescue anniversary, the veterinarians and elephant care-takers at Wildlife SOS prepared a special ‘cake’, made out of cooked pulses and vegetables.

India harbours more than 50 per cent of the wild elephant population and about 20 per cent of the captive elephant population of Asia. The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) enjoys a special status in the country. It has been very closely associated with the religion, myths, history and cultural heritage of India for centuries. Protecting and ensuring the survival of the elephant means much more to an Indian than protecting just another endangered species, says a FAO study.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS, said, “Kalpana’s story highlights the condition of all the captive elephants in India who are beaten, chained, starved and kept in terrible conditions in temples, circuses and are used to beg on the streets, for weddings or giving joy rides to tourists. We are grateful to the UP forest department who played a huge role in Kalpana’s rescue and National Geographic Wild for helping us bring her story, and our message, to the forefront.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary, Wildlife SOS said, “As we celebrate Kalpana’s first rescue anniversary, we are delighted to witness her amazing journey of recovery. Elephants are incredibly social animals and Kalpana’s friendship with the other elephants has had a positive influence on her, both physically and emotionally.”

National Geographic Wild went behind the scenes to cover Kalpana’s rescue journey with Wildlife SOS, which is part of a 6 episode TV Show- “India’s Jungle Heroes”.

Kalpana’s rescue will premiere on 10th April, Friday at 9:00 pm on Nat Geo Wild channel in India.

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