Former ‘Begging elephant’ Holly celebrates 5 years of freedom in Mathura | India News – Times of India

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AGRA: Rescued from a life of begging on the streets of Uttar Pradesh, female elephant Holly stands at the crossroads of the fifth year of her freedom. Five years ago, in 2018, conservation NGO Wildlife SOS brought Holly to the Elephant Hospital Campus in Mathura for long-term care, which allowed her to start life afresh.
Holly was a female elephant who suffered from a brutal life of captivity and was used as a begging elephant on the streets of Uttar Pradesh. When rescued by Wildlife SOS, she was a geriatric elephant, aged nearly 60 years. The situation of old age was worsened by the dual physical issues of complete blindness, and joint disorders and severe arthritis in her legs.
Due to the loss of vision, Holly was initially wary of her new surroundings. For months at Wildlife SOS, Holly did not lie down which made the veterinarians nervous as her limbs were not strong enough to withstand the discomfort any longer. Holly was provided regular topical medication, laser therapy and hydrotherapy. The buoyancy of the water extended relief to her exhausted limbs. These treatment processes gradually helped Holly to gain strength in her legs
Dr. Ilayaraja. S, Deputy Director- Veterinary Services, Wildlife SOS, said, “Initially, Holly struggled to walk long distances due to the severity of her arthritis, and she would prefer to sleep standing up. But once our veterinary team started focusing on her treatment, along with a well-planned diet, there was no looking back. Over five winters, Holly has transformed considerably and her walks today, despite her affected gait, continue to increase her confidence.”
Apart from physical recovery, psychological healing was equally important for Holly. Today, she has found comfort in Kalpana, another resident female elephant at the Elephant Hospital Campus. The bond and friendship between the two elephants have also acted as pillars of strength for Holly, ultimately impacting her mental well-being.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS said, “With a combination of medical treatment, company of other elephants and healthy nutrition, Holly’s life has taken a turn for the better. The image of an elephant with physical wounds and injuries is no longer a reality for Holly. It is quite remarkable to think that she has completed five years with us.”
Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary, Wildlife SOS said, “What our excellent team of veterinarians and caregivers have achieved with Holly is extraordinary. Holly appears to be merely a husk of her past self, and today she is surrounded by love, care and a near-natural environment as her home.”


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