Elephant on Verge of Death With Broken Leg Rescued After 17 Days

An elephant who was on the verge of death after collapsing with a broken leg has been rescued after 17 days unable to stand.

The 35-year-old Asian elephant, named "Moti," was found collapsed in an undisclosed location in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. He was in critical condition and on the "verge of death," conservation charity Wildlife SOS—who initiated rescue efforts—said in a press release.

A Wildlife SOS spokesperson told Newsweek: "Moti collapsed because of a long history of an untreated fracture of his front leg and severe infection in the foot pad and toenails in addition to multiple health issues, all of which WERE compounded by severe lack of veterinary care."

Moti was unable to stand for 17 days. Moti's condition became critical when hypostatic pressure—low blood pressure from lying down for too long—started to threaten his kidney and heart functions.

Moti the elephant
A photo shows a rescuer tending to Moti while he was collapsed. WildlifeSOS

With his health starting to deteriorate, the Indian military was called in to assist Wildlife SOS in lifting the animal, so that veterinary teams could tend to him.

Footage of the rescue captured the moment Moti was finally lifted upright, saving him from the hypostatic pressure.

In the lead-up to the rescue, charity workers and the army can be seen tending to Moti as he lies down. Rescuers comfort the elephant and treat his wounds while they prepare to lift him.

Once Moti is lifted upright, he can be seen using his trunk to splash water on himself.

While the elephant is now no longer collapsed, his injuries remain severe. He is still unable to put weight on his injured front legs and transporting him to Wildlife SOS' elephant hospital—which is 8 hours away—remains a feat of a challenge.

The preparation for this journey could take weeks, as his current location is very remote.

Moti the elephant
A photo shows rescuers tending to Moti while he was collapsed. WildlifeSOS

Moti is still supported while standing up, and is being treated with pain medicine until he can be transported to the hospital. He is also eating and drinking well.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said in a press release that he is "most grateful" to Shiv Kunal Verma, General VK Singh and the Chief of Army and Engineers, who helped in their "last ditch effort to help Moti."

"This is such a patriotic effort to help India's heritage animal and an endangered species. We are also grateful to the Forest Department and the custodian of Moti elephant for their cooperation and support," Satyanarayan said.

India is home to almost 60 percent of Earth's remaining Asian elephant population.

There are fewer than 22,000 left in the wild, with approximately 2,700 in captivity.
It is not yet clear what Moti's situation was before the rescue. All rescuers know is that he was not given proper veterinary care for his wounds, leading to his critical condition.

In captivity domestic Asian elephants in India are often used for commercial purposes.

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