Lifestyle diseases: The forest department makes a diet menu for captive elephants

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Pathanamthitta: Nowadays more elephants kept in captivity are diagnosed with lifestyle diseases. It is known that elephants suffer from lifestyle diseases due to a lack of physical activity. Heart disease is also common in captured elephants.

Elephants are wild animals that move for miles in the forest. When elephants are captured, the out-of-forest lifestyle makes them sick.

Work that does not require physical exertion or walking is a major contributor to elephant disease.

In the past, elephants were used to carry wood in the wood plantations. With the advent of mechanization, the machines replaced the elephants to complete the work.

Elephants were used to move wood from one place to another and other work related to tree uprooting.

At temple festivals the elephants were brought on foot from distant places. But nowadays special trucks are used to bring elephants.

With the entry into force of captive elephant management rules in Kerala, it is illegal to bring elephants through the streets on foot. It is known that elephants are not given opportunities to exercise because vehicles are used for travel.

The forest department investigated the health problems and instructed the elephant sanctuaries to let elephants walk every day. At the same time, the elephant rehabilitation centers in Kottur and Kodanad offer enough space to take elephants for walks. However, the Konni center, which is near the city, reported problems obeying the order due to lack of space.

According to the order, elephants should be taken for a five-hour walk at the Konni Rehabilitation Center. Since Konni is an eco-tourism center, the officials cannot obey the order.

In order to control blood pressure and heart problems due to fat, a perfect feeding plan for the elephants is followed.

The elephant’s daily diet includes rice, ragi, wheat, green gram, horse gram, jaggery, salt and calcium. In the past 5 kg of rice and 250 kg of grass were served daily. Now the amount of objects other than grass has decreased.

The vets have indicated that the diet plan is being followed to avoid obesity and fat in the elephants.