Health of Kozhikamuthi camp ‘matron’ failing- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Age has caught up with Vijayalakshmi,  a cow elephant believed to be one of the eldest camp elephants in the State. Her health is failing and a team of veterinarians has been trying its best to revive the 72- year-old animal at the Kozhikamuthi camp in Ulanthy forest range inside the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) since April 7.

Vijayalakshmi was captured on December 29, 1973, when she was 23 years old at Paanathiryaru, near Varagaliyar, as part of the forest department’s measures to increase the camp elephant population, and used for mating. 

Ulanthy Forest Range Officer A Kasilingam said, “Mahout Karuppusamy is taking care of Vijayalakshmi like his child and the animal obeys him completely. Her vision started to deteriorate 10 years ago, which reduced her movement, and she lost her molar teeth.

Most of the camp elephants are her babies. We all feel sad that her health is failing.” Former Ulanthy forest range officer Thangaraja Pannerselvam told TNIE, “Vijayalakshmi is the matron in the camp. Whenever other elephants delivered calves, Vijayalskhmi would nurse them. She was so strong and used to pull even a half-tonne log tied to a rope for more than one kilometre easily.”

On Saturday, ATR Field Director and conservator of forest S Ramasubramanian formed a committee consisting of A Sukumar, Coimbatore forest veterinarian, NS Manokaran, additional Director of Animal Husbandry, Udagamandalam, S Dharmaseelan, veterinary college and Research institute Namakkal, and Perumalsamy, Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Coimbatore, to monitor Vijayalakshmi. 

Sukumar told TNIE that they gave her an enema to clear dung blockage, but it did not work well. We offered her fruits, but she is not eating anything and is only drinking water. The animal, however, is able to walk.“We have given fluids and antibiotic injections to improve the movement in her intestine. We are hoping she will recover soon,” he added.

Meanwhile, a post-mortem examination of a female elephant that died in the Pollachi forest range revealed that the animal died after an attack by a male elephant, suspectedly over mating. The animal was 32-35 years old and the carcass was left for carnivores to feed on.

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