Nina was held in chains and intentionally blinded by her owners, experts say
A TORTURED elephant used for begging and as a prop for wedding processions was “intentionally blinded” by its cruel owners.
The elderly animal named Nina, aged 60, was rescued by charity Wildlife SOS in Uttar Pradesh, India.
The elephant’s eyeballs have collapsed or sunken after years of abuse
Initially, the abused elephant showed signs of PTSD such as severe anxiety and bobbing her head continually when saved earlier this year.
When elephants are captured in the wild in India they are often subjected to a brutal process called “Phajaan” which literally means “breaking of the spirit.”
The animal is put in a confined space where they are starved and beaten until they become subservient to their captors.
Shockingly, depraved people intentionally destroy the eyes of the elephants – blinding them – to gain more sympathy while begging.
Nina was also used in wedding processions where she was painted, made to carry heavy ornaments and forced to walk on hot tarmac roads from one ceremony to another surrounded by loud music.
And when she was not being brutally abused, the poor Asian elephant was held in chains, unable to move around.
The horrific work conditions and lack of proper nutrition and care led to Nina developing various physical ailments such as arthritis and damaged limbs as well as numerous scars and wounds on her body.
Dr Ilayaraja, Deputy Director of Veterinary Services at Wildlife SOS, told The Sun Online: “Nina suffers from a degenerative joint condition that affects her hind limbs. Her forelimbs are affected due to compensatory weight-bearing.
“Both eyes are damaged completely, possibly due to external trauma and lack of medical attention. She has been placed under a carefully calibrated diet to regain strength.”
After consultations with eye specialists from India and UK, the Wildlife SOS team was saddened to learn that Nina’s loss of vision was almost certainly intentionally inflicted.
Her left eyeball has completely collapsed due to an untreated injury and her right eye had shrunken.
Nina was rescued and brought to the charity’s Elephant Hospital Campus in Mathura, India first-ever medical facility for elderly and injured elephants.
STARVED AND BEATEN
She will now spend her remaining years being cared for by the team at Wildlife SOS where she is housed in an enclosure which is never changed so she can use her sense of smell and touch to navigate her way around.
The 60-year-old elephant often ventures out into the open field at the Wildlife SOS centre and even enjoys a shower every day.
Nina showed signs of discomfort in the initial days following her rescue as she found herself in a new environment, the charity says.
Yet, in the short time that the elephant has been with Wildlife SOS, she has grown comfortable with her caregiver and is adjusting to her free range enclosure.
Ms Tamarisk Grummit, who represents Wildlife SOS in the UK says, “Nina has found a happy and loving home at Wildlife SOS. Watching her evolve into a gregarious elephant is proof that we must continue treading the path to help Elephants in distress across India.”
IN GOOD HANDS
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said: “India is the last stronghold for the Asian elephant population where 50 per cent of the remaining populations occur and it is critically important to conserve and protect this majestic species.
“At Wildlife SOS, we try our best to give the elephants a life of freedom and dignity. Caring for blind elephants, in particular, can be challenging as they require specialised care and constant monitoring.
“We are committed to creating a safer place for wildlife across India and change the perception of people towards wildlife.”
The charity, which relies on donations, is working towards raising funds for the care and upkeep of 33 elephants.
You can make a difference by contributing towards the cause at http://www.wildlifesos.org/donate.
For more details, visit wildlifesos.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For any queries, contact the Wildlife SOS UK Campaign Officer, Debbie Haynes-+44 07831433106 Abused elephants are forced to walk for miles and then held in chains when they are not working The cracked feet of an elephant captured in the wild and then tortured in India