Vets remove parts of iron chain from elephant’s foot in Bengal

‘We are monitoring the elephant, and it is making good progress,’ says official

Officials of the West Bengal Forest Department and a team of six veterinarians have successfully operated upon an elephant and removed parts of an iron chain that had got stuck in its foot.

The chain had got stuck deep in the right front foot of the tusker, just above the foot pad of the animal. The elephant was having considerable difficulty in walking.

“We tranquillized the injured elephant at Bankura, and the remaining iron chain embedded in the skin was successfully removed by a team of six veterinarians,” V. K. Yadav, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden of West Bengal, said.

Mr. Yadav said that the elephant, with the iron chain part stuck to its foot, was spotted two months ago by forest staff and villagers in Jhargram. Last month, an operation was conducted at Sonamukhi, where a part of the chain was removed. The remaining parts were removed during the surgery on Thursday.

S. Kulandaivel, Chief Conservator of Forest, Central Circle, said that electric cutters were used by doctors to remove parts of the chain. He said that the elephant had come to West Bengal from Jharkhand and the chain in its foot indicated that there could have been attempts to trap the animal, but it managed to flee.

“We are monitoring the elephant, and it is making good progress. After the operation, the animal has been able to stand on its feet,” Mr. Kulandaivel said.

The patchy forest of south Bengal, where large agriculture fields are surrounded by small patches of forest, is home to about 160 to 180 elephants. The region records one of the highest incidents of human-elephant conflict in the country. Experts have suggested several mitigation measures such as translocation of elephants.

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