Wayanad (Kerala), Nov 6:
In a first of its kind, the Kerala forest department has launched an ambulance service to transport sick and injured elephants.
A brand new lorry has been acquired with facilities for transporting wild animals by lifting them onto the vehicle using a winch, Sudhir Neroth, range forest officer attached to the elephant squad, told IANS.
The lorry also has a 1,000 litre capacity water tank for the animals.
“It has cost Rs.20 lakh and basically this is part of our strategy to reduce the man-animal conflict in the forest,” said Neroth.
He said there were times when wild elephants come out of the forests and create havoc for human beings.
“During such times, the accepted norm is to use trained captive elephants (kunki elephant squad) and drive the wild elephants back into the forests.
The ambulance, apart from providing medical treatments to wild animals, will also be used to transport these kunki elephants to the place where the wild elephants have to be driven away,” said Neroth.
It will be based in Sultan Battery near here as the hilly district of Wayanad borders both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and has faced frequent problems of wild elephants entering the domain of human beings.