Photo by Wildlife SOS

Written by Dobi Finley

Just months after India was given its first ever hospital for rescued elephants, the facility has already treated 26 recovering pachyderms.

This special medical center was established in Uttar Pradesh by the animal welfare group Wildlife SOS, a nonprofit organization that has been rescuing wild animals throughout India since 1995.

In addition to saving abused elephants, the group has also rescued bears, leopards, turtles, and other endangered species.

Since the hospital opened in November, the nonprofit has rescued a total of 26 elephants from abusive tourist attractions such as circuses, temples, riding camps, and private owners.

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These conditions and situations of neglect generally result in the elephant suffering from a number of different medical issues, which is why the organization was in such dire need of an elephant hospital.

When rescued animals are first brought to the hospital, they are given a thorough evaluation by one of the center’s veterinarians. Since most of the animals are in poor physical condition due to years of neglect and malnutrition, the hospital has been specially designed to treat injured, sick, and geriatric elephants.

Photo by Wildlife SOS

To best serve its pachyderm patients, the hospital has wireless digital radiology, ultrasound, laser therapy, an in-house pathology lab, and a medical hoist for comfortably lifting disabled elephants and moving them around the treatment area. For regular check-ups – as well as specialty treatments – there is a jumbo-sized digital weight scale, laboratory testing capabilities, and a hydrotherapy pool.

The Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital also has portable X-ray machines, ultrasound machines, and specialized foot-care tools. Since certain medical procedures and treatments require overnight observation, the hospital is equipped with special quarters for this purpose with infrared cameras for veterinarians to observe the elephant patients.

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One of the hospital’s current patients is an adorable female pachyderm named Holly. She is a former street-riding elephant who was confiscated from a private owner. Holly is completely blind in both eyes, and when she was rescued, her body was covered with chronic untreated abscesses. Due to malnutrition, she also has arthritis in her back legs.

Photo by Wildlife SOS

Holly is now finally getting the medical care that she needs at the hospital. The veterinary team is treating her arthritis with cold laser therapy and therapeutic ultrasonography. The veterinarians will be tending to her abscessed wounds daily until they can heal completely, and Holly is now getting proper nutrition with lots of fruits to eat (her favorites are bananas and papayas!)

Once they are treated, the elephants are sent off to one of two Wildlife SOS elephant sanctuaries in India: the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura and the Elephant Rescue Centre in Yamunanagar.

This way, they can spend their golden years enjoying their retirement in much happier and healthier conditions.

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