Committing Act: Rescuers Come Together to Help Elephant Hurt in Train Accident

In a groundbreaking effort at India’s inaugural elephant hospital in New Delhi, a team of dedicated healthcare professionals employs innovative treatments, including laser therapy, traditional Ayurvedic massage, and physiotherapy, to assist a young elephant on the road to recovery after a tragic train accident.

The plight of the 9-month-old elephant, affectionately named Bani (meaning Mother Earth) by her rescuers, is emblematic of a more significant issue faced by elephants in India.

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Bani suffered severe injuries and paralysis in mid-December when she was struck by a high-speed train near Corbett National Park in northern India. Tragically, her pregnant mother also lost her life in the accident.

Despite initial treatment for hip and spine injuries at a local facility, Bani’s condition failed to improve.

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In early February, she was transferred to Mathura, where she received specialized care at India’s first veterinary hospital exclusively for elephants, managed by the conservation organization Wildlife SOS.

While veterinarians have noted some positive developments in Bani’s condition, identifying all her fractures has proven challenging.

Dr. A. Sha Arun, a senior veterinarian at the Wildlife SOS center, explained the difficulty in accurately pinpointing fractures due to the bulky nature of the hip regions.

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Bani’s recovery journey shows promising signs, with gradual healing of wounds on her back and groin.

Despite initial concerns about spinal injury, positive indicators such as tail movement and normal bodily functions suggest a favorable response to treatment.

Although Bani has regained the use of her front legs, challenges remain with her hind legs, with doctors estimating up to three months for her to regain mobility with successful ongoing treatment.

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Elephants, known for their emotional complexity, may experience psychological effects from traumatic events.

In Bani’s case, veterinarians suspect that the loss of her mother in the train crash may impact her recovery.

Despite the challenges, there are heartwarming moments of progress, including Bani’s increased playfulness with caregivers and her healthy appetite. These positive responses provide hope for her eventual recovery.

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