Twenty Hour long rescue operation mounted by Police, Forest and Wildlife SOS to rescue ‘Mohan’, a 55 year old elephant tortured for decades in illegal custody Elephant was found to be emaciated, starved and severely wounded.
Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh
In what was the longest wildlife rescue operations lasting mounted by enforcement agencies in India, an emaciated and starving elephant named ‘Mohan’ was rescued from illegal custody. The gruelling twenty hour long operation involved over fifty police officers and forest officers to ensure safety and to maintain law and order during the rescue operation.
The 55 year old male elephant ‘Mohan’ had been labelled the ‘unluckiest’ elephant in the world as several repeated attempts at rescuing him failed and legal proceedings to win his freedom were postponed and delayed repeatedly. However, years of persistence and efforts by the Forest Department with assistance from Wildlife SOS, finally saw a breakthrough and with it came justice for this unlucky elephant.
The District Court in Pratapgarh issued an order to the Police to immediately file a FIR against the people holding the elephant in illegal custody and seize the elephant within 3 days. The rescue operation lasted over 20 hours and faced stiff resistance from anti social elements in the area, intent on sabotaging the rescue attempt. The presence of a large police force helped maintain safety of the rescue team. The mahout of the elephant ‘Ghulam’ was arrested and sent to jail. The unruly mob damaged one vehicle.
DFO Mr Y P Shukla said “The elephant Mohan was transferred to custody of Forest Department in Pratapgarh where he will be provided medical care for the time being.”
Dr. Adarsh Singh, District Magistrate of Pratapgarh, said, “We complied with the directions of the court to ensure the safety of this elephant.”
Medical examination of Mohan elephant conducted by a team of three veterinarians after his rescue revealed elephant was in a truly despicable condition as a result of constant torture and abuse. The medical report dated 23 July 2016 confirms the elephant is thin and emaciated caused by severe starvation. It also mentions that wounds on his body and ears confirm beating and poking by sharp objects, as well as feet injuries that would lead to permanent joint disorders if not properly treated immediately. The elephant’s dung had a lot of round worms and indicated severe worm infestation.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “We hope that this breakthrough in attaining Mohan’s long overdue freedom sets a precedent of zero tolerance for illegal ownership of elephants and gives hope to elephants across the country that are held in illegal captivity and suffering abuse and neglect at the hands of their captors.”
Wildlife SOS India is one of the largest rescue and conservation charities in South Asia, operating 10 wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world’s largest sloth bear rescue center, the Elephant Conservation and Care Center and Elephant Rehabilitation Centre which collectively houses 22 rescued elephants. Wildlife SOS runs a tribal rehabilitation project that aims to create an alternative livelihood for poachers and other indigenous communities that once depended on wildlife for a livelihood. We also run a leopard rescue center, a wildlife hotline in New Delhi and Agra, and Forest Watch, which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit. More information about the organization can be found at http://www.wildlifesos.org.