Thrissur (Kerala), July 10 :
Groups of elephant lovers have submitted a proposal to the central government to set up the country’s first elephant hospital and a diagnostic laboratory here.
The proposal was submitted this month to Minister of Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar when he visited the Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayoor near here.
Elephant veterinarian Jacob Cheeran told IANS that such a hospital would be the first of its kind in the country. He said the medical facility was necessary as the majority of the over 500 captive elephants in Kerala will soon be over 50 years of age.
“The proposal suggests a treatment facility for 10 elephants at a time which is required to treat elephants affected by chronic diseases like foot rot and so on…,” Cheeran said.
“The diagnostic laboratory is to support the field veterinarians in early diagnosis of specific diseases like tuberculosis and infections in elephants,” he added.
Temple authorities in Thiruvambady, Paramekkavu and Guruvayoor and the Kerala State Elephant Owners Multipurpose Cooperative Society joined hands to support the proposal.
The proposal also suggests that both the hospital and the laboratory should be located on a five acre plot of land at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University campus at Mannuthy near here.
Thrissur district has the maximum number of captive elephants in Kerala, with the famed Guruvayoor temple alone having 59 elephants.
Cheeran said that in recent years there has been a drastic decline in the number of captive elephants in Kerala due to increased death rate of the elephants and the restrictions in import of captive elephants from the north-eastern states.
The elephant hospital is expected to cost Rs.10 crore including the running costs for three years.
“Even though many field veterinarians are engaged in treating elephants in almost all districts in Kerala, there is no centralised specialist healthcare support,” Cheeran said.
“… Since Thrissur is centrally located, transporting sick elephants from any place in the state is also easy,” added Cheeran, who has been to elephant hospitals in Thailand and other parts of the world.
State Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar told IANS that they will do their bit to take up the proposal with the central government.