Rampur (Uttarakhand), 18th February 2023: Moti, a privately owned 35-year-old elephant collapsed a month ago in the foothills after a long history of an untreated fracture in his right fore limb, a torn and mutilated footpad on his left fore limb and multiple health issues, all of which were compounded by a severe lack of veterinary care over the last 5 to 6 months.

Due to severe neglect by his previous mahout, Moti suffered in silence for five months before Wildlife SOS was alerted to his collapse and deteriorating condition. Sadly, Moti is not the first of such victims, many elephants suffer from painful, life-threatening injuries every year in India due to abuse, severe neglect and lack of medical care.

At 9.38 AM IST on 18th February 2023, Moti breathed his last surrounded by people who loved and cared for him for the last one month including the veterinary team of Wildlife SOS.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Wildlife SOS left no stone unturned in caring for Moti over the last four weeks since we were alerted about his condition. Millions sent Moti prayers and healing wishes from across the world who learnt about his condition and that we were with him in this fight. Moti’s soul has found peace and escape from his life in captivity. Even in death Moti inspires us and will always be remembered as a fighter, who never gave up.”

Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and Secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “India’s national treasures – our precious elephants face neglect and painful deterioration of their health due to lack of proper care. Moti is one such stark example of what negligence and lack of care can do to a healthy young elephant.”

Dr Rahul Rajpoot, Veterinary Officer Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital, said, “Due to years of past neglect and lack of veterinary care, Moti suffered multiple health issues. In addition to his right fore limb being compromised, the left footpad had separated from the foot base exposing raw tissue and creating a painful condition. Blood tests revealed compromised kidney & liver functions due to prolonged malnutrition. Our treatment efforts were targeted to ensure Moti was not in pain and we gave him every possible kind of treatment that was available to increase his chances of survival.”

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 prescribes that elephant ownership certificate holders in the custody of live elephants must get the elephant’s condition verified by the Chief Wildlife Warden who will assess the capability of private elephant owners to provide shelter, good nutrition, feed fodder and a high degree of veterinary treatment for the elephant that they have an ownership certificate.

Shri B K Singh, IFS (Retired) PCCF Karnataka Forest Dept said “The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 is a great law and very progressive, however, when such laws are not enforced & implemented on the ground, elephants get neglected which results in painful and abusive situations.”

In light of this tragic incident, Wildlife SOS has launched a petition to urge and request the government to take strict action to protect all captive elephants in India through required bi-annual inspections and veterinary certificates of health.