First Person

Pray For Moti: Army Steps In To Help 35-year-old Elephant, Flogged On The Streets For Begging

All four of Moti’s feet are gone with either the pad having rotted or the leg having broken. This has to be a major wake-up call towards the plight of riding elephants. The matter brought to the Army’s attention yesterday by ⁦General VK Singh.

By Shiv Kunal Verma, 6 Feb 2023

Moti is a 35-year old elephant who has spent his entire life begging for his masters on the streets. Undernourished and deprived of any real care, his feet, especially the pads, wore off and he was left to die. The Mathura-based Wildlife SOS team, always there for the voiceless, were soon by his side at a currently undisclosed location, their veterinary doctors fighting a seemingly losing battle as the back legs also seemed to be broken.

Unable to get up, due to hypostatic pressure the kidney and heart functions started to deteriorate which also leads to oedema on dependent parts and decubitus ulcers were also getting infected. With little or no hope, the vets in attendance could only pray for a miracle.

In 2016, SOS Vets had got involved in saving a tusker called Sidda near Bangalore, when he had fallen off a dam and broken his leg. Unable to get up, the elephant then too needed desperately to be made to stand. At the time, Latika Nath, a wildlife photographer, and conservationist, had called up Shiv Kunal Verma and explained the situation to him. Verma, an author who has close links with the armed forces, is also a confidante of the former Army Chief, General VK Singh. Throwing all red tape out of the window, the Madras Sappers had been scrambled and had erected a karal from which the elephant was then suspended.

Moti’s condition getting worse by the minute, Kartick Satyanarayan, who runs SOS Wildlife, once again reached out to Shiv Kunal Verma day before yesterday evening. At 2 am on 5 February (yesterday) Verma messaged General VK Singh who in turn reached out to the Army Chief and the Chief of Engineers to help save the elephant. This time, as Moti is in the foothills, the Bengal Sappers were told to move post haste.

Driving through the night, a team of sappers headed by a Lt Colonel has reached the spot this morning. The SOS Wildlife vets and the engineers are now looking at erecting a similar karal which will get Moti up and give him an outside chance, if at all. The arrival of the Indian Army has lifted the morale of all concerned, and we can now all hope for a miracle for Moti to somehow pull through.