Thursday, March 04, 2010

Jumbo-Size Shoe to Ease Pain

Kuntalini’s new Rs 1,500 shoe is the talk of the town

Kuntalini, a kunki-trained elephant of Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, which comes under the Cooch Behar Forest division in West Bengal, is the centre of attraction. The 52-year-old female elephant struts around the area, wearing a shoe on one of its legs. The huge shoe is strapped up with white cotton ribbon. A close look shows “specially ordered” inscribed on it.

Kuntalini is not wearing the shoe for fashion. But when veterinarians failed to treat its injury, they suggested that the tusker be made to wear a shoe, so that its footpad injury could be protected. And this has helped the animal from further hurting its wound. The “hardworking forest employee” as it is called by forest workers was injured a year ago. Sources say that the elephant had stepped on a sharp piece of deer horn while patrolling the area. The injury was not life-threatening, but it led to profuse bleeding. Despite officials administering medicine on it, the wound did not heal. Besides, whenever Kuntalini was taken to the forest for work it used to hurt its footpad.

It was then that the sanctuary’s vet came up with the idea of a shoe. And a range officer of Jaldapara east was convinced. He managed to design the shoe for the elephant in two days. Help of a local cobbler was taken to make such a huge shoe. Made of hard leather and adhesive, the shoe is 130 cm in radius and 20 cm in height, weighing only 532 grams. Also, rubber is pasted on it. The unbranded shoe costs only Rs 1,500. At least two forest workers helped Kuntalini wear this shoe. To make sure that it doesn’t come off when the elephant walks, the employees tied it up with cotton ribbons. A senior forest official said: “We are still monitoring the elephant. Once we are confident, it will be allowed to petrol the forest. Kuntalini was lucky to survive. But there were others who couldn’t survive their injuries”. Another kunki-trained elephant Shakuntala in north Bengal forest had died of its wound. Veterinarians did their best to save it, but they failed. The elephant had sustained an injury while it was roaming in the forest. According to some sources, Shakuntala had hurt its right paw from a sharp nail. Initially, medicines and herbs were applied on the wound. But when it didn’t heal, the veterinarians operated on it. However, its condition started deteriorating and the wound never healed. After some days it died. Perhaps its death forced the forest officials to think differently this time.

Forest officials said: “This is for the first time in the world that such a shoe was made for a domesticated elephant”. But, earlier too, a female elephant Radha was made to wear a shoe in 2007. However, Radha was not manning the forest. Her shoe was gifted by one Raju Sagar, a devotee of Lord Ganesha.

While talking to TSI over phone, elephant expert Parbati Barua said: “This is an extraordinary step taken for an elephant. In Thailand, elephants are made to wear socks to save them from infection”. Forest department officials are mulling a proposal to use such kind of shoes for elephants that guard the sanctuary with a purpose to save them from injury. But Barua is unconvinced. She said: “This shoe or shoes are not natural thing for these Big Bosses (elephants) of forests. They have to be accustomed with it. If such a decision is taken, then officials have to make sure that they monitor the animals and sterilise their shoes.” Kuntalini was rescued from Sonpur Mela of Bihar in 1962. Since then, it has been patrolling the forest to protect other animals from the poachers. The forest is close to the Bhutan and Bangladesh border and poachers throng the area for their victims.
For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Read these article :-

Outlook Magazine money editor quits
Don't trust the Indian Media!

No comments: