Manas National Park in the northern Assam bordering Bhutan is a 500 square KM pristine forest, is a world Heritage site and is famous for its magnificent biodiversity. The forest changes from dry-deciduous to moist-evergreen in a span of just 20 km is the home to all charismatic big-5: Elephant, Great Indian one horned Rhino, Bengal tiger, Wild buffalo and gaur, besides Himalayan Black bear, Sambar, eastern swamp deer, sheetal, hog deer, dhole, pigmy hog, leopard, golden langoor, Bengal florican, horn beel and many other. There are at present 43 camp elephants patrolling this precious park from poachers. They are spread over three ranges, namely Bhuyanpara, Bansbari and Panbari. The camp elephants have their share of problems including medical problems like parasitism, infectious diseases and injuries.
I have over 35 years of contact with this park, I used my experiences of anaesthetic management of the camp elephants of this park for my PhD dissertation. I have seen rare diseases like tetanus, rabies and cobboldiasis in this camp besides routine parasitic infestations, dental pulp injuries, farra gall and foot affections. From last year the park has witnessed death of young elephant caves (wild) suspected to be EEHV (elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus) infections. For all these reasons I organize pre-emptive health camps for the camp elephants at least 4 times a year; where every elephant is individually examined and appropriate remedial and/or preventive medications administered. We vaccinated all 42 elephants on 24-25th of March, 2017 against dreaded rabies, dewormed as per their parasitic load, foot care administered and trained the handlers on the pedicure techniques and vit-mineral mixture distributed. Blood and urine samples of the elephants were collected for laboratory examinations for preparation of database and/or appropriate remedies.
– KK Sarma
Nice to see Dr Sarma interact with his patients. The elephants look thin to me. It would be nice to read more about the health challenges these elephants are facing compared to their wild counterparts.
Yes, they look somewhat thin. Actually this is the lean period and grasses are scanty. After the pre-monsoon rains there will be luxuriant growth of grass, this coupled with the benefit of deworming, their health conditions will improve.
Rabies? How might they contract this? I presume from an infected predator or possibly a bat (but there are no vampire bats in Asia)…