Following an intensive three-week campaign by PETA India, the Bada Malhera court in Chhatarpur has ordered the permanent rehabilitation of Lakshmi, known as “India’s skinniest elephant”, at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Lakshmi was used for begging, and efforts by PETA India and local activists led to her seizure by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, after which her upkeep was ensured by PETA India’s veterinary experts. This was per the direction of Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden.
When found, Lakshmi was suffering from chronic arthritis and joint deformities, with abscesses on her hips. She was in agonising pain and was debilitated because of long-term deprivation of food and water.
In the second week of December, following complaints by PETA India and local activists, the forest department registered a preliminary offence report under Section 42 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, against Lakshmi’s custodian for illegally keeping her and abusing her for begging. And upon hearing from PETA India, the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change asked the forest department to take immediate steps to rehabilitate the elephant. The court issued a direction to send her to the ECCC based on Wildlife SOS’ willingness to care for her.
During Lakshmi’s interim care under PETA India’s veterinary team, we created a sandpit to alleviate the pain in her arthritic, deformed legs and provided a pile of mud to help her rest and sleep comfortably. We also set up a bamboo stand so that she could rest her head and trunk, provided a customised jacket to protect her from the cold at night, and offered her daily grooming and massage to encourage blood flow. She was given daily baths and treated daily for her painful abscesses and other wounds. Medicines were given to relieve her joint pain, and her feet and nails were cleaned and moisturised regularly. We also offered her fruit to eat.
We thank all those who signed the petition to help us end Lakshmi’s misery.Support PETA India’s Work