Deserted by their owners, two cow elephants, Purnima and Lakshmi, are starving and left to the mercy of some good people who feed them.
Manoj Oswal, unit head of city-based NGO People for Animal, said, “Both the elephants have urinary tract infections, wounds and arthritis pains. They are nearing 60 years and have very limited movement. Lakshmi is staying at the Vitthal temple in Vittalwadi while Purnima is stationed at Mitra Mandal Chowk.”
“Currently, they are being fed by us and some locals. We want to rehabilitate both of them and appeal to corporate donors and individuals to contribute for their food, upkeep and transportation. We want to admit them to Wildlife SOS Elephant Rescue in Mathura or Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (WRRC) and need funds for that,” he added.
In 2007, the forest department had seized the two elephants for violation of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, acting on a complaint from People for Animals.
Lakshmi was released to the owner while the release of Purnima was rejected. The court of JMFC had rejected the application for custody to the owner and handed over Purnima to the Rajeev Gandhi Zoo. But nearly after a year, the Sessions Court permitted the owner to take the elephant on condition that the owner shall produce the papers in 90 days. But the owners never came before the court.
Laksmi on the other hand was seized in Nigdi once and kept in custody of the NGO for several months but later the elephant was released. Once again in 2012, elephant Lakshmi was seized after a person was killed by her.