An elephant that has probably served its handlers well and earned them a pretty packet while it was healthy was abandoned on the roadside after it fell critically ill. It would have died had an animal activist not come to its rescue.
After it was left to die, the pachyderm's condition further deteriorated and even passers-by, who saw it lying motionless on the side of the Ravet-Kivale road near the water purification plant in Nigadi, chose to ignore it.
The veterinary doctor who examined the stricken beast said that it had dislocated its left leg and its right leg was infected with gangrene for the past several days.
Animal activists are making an all-out effort to ensure that the animal gets treatment at the earliest and the PMC is working on plans to move the animal to a rescue centre.
Animal rights activist Banti Chauhan, who got wind of the animal's predicament on Tuesday night, visited the spot and recognised the elephant. The activist claimed that the elephant's name was Chanchal and it was one of the five or six pachyderms owned by some UP-based families who travel across the state earning money off the animals. Chauhan had initiated action against two such elephant handlers in 2007.
Chauhan found out about the elephant from a neighbour and visited the spot and noticed that the animal was unable to move. He immediately informed local corporator R S Kumar, following which veterinary doctor Satish Gore, associated with the PCMC Zoo, reached the spot on Tuesday night.
"The animal's condition is serious. We have treated it for a dislocated left leg and for gangrene on its right leg. If the animal is not shifted to hospital, its chances of survival are bleak," Gore said.
Gore added that the elephant appears to have been untreated for several days.
"We came to know that some rag pickers, who frequent this plot in survey no 25 did not care to report about this elephant to the concerned authorities. As a result, the animal was left untreated for more than 15 days," Gore said.
Manoj Oswal, another animal rights activist who reached the spot yesterday, is trying to contact experts to save the animal. Oswal had earlier objected to two such elephants being used for begging in the city.
Oswal said according to the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972, it was illegal to keep an elephant in captivity.
"Two elephants were seized and their handlers faced arrest in 2007. The handler of this particular elephant managed to evade arrest," Oswal said.
He added that rescuing an animal weighing almost 3.5 tonnes is a Herculean task as there are chances that the animal could face further injury.
"The chances of the elephant getting violent are higher during a rescue operation and without her handlers, the task is even more difficult. PCMC is doing their level best to rescue the animal," Oswal said.
Gore said that attempts to contact forest officials were in progress.
"The elephant is a Schedule I Animal and therefore, it is necessary that the doctor who has been treating her should inform the forest department. A report on her condition should be sent to the rescue center," said M K Rao, chief forest officer of Pune Forest Division.