Mumbai fights for ailing elephant's life

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 19, 2013 18:17 hrs

Many Mumbaikars are working hard to help save a gentle, female elephant called Bijlee, who was found seriously ill on the streets of the city.

After an appeal by mega-star Amitabh Bachchan on the plight of Bijlee, Mumbaikars, NGOs and even political parties have rushed to her aid.

The 58-year-old Bijlee, owned by a family of priests, was found lying injured and seriously ill on the busy Mulund-Bhandup Link Road, northeast Mumbai last week.

She had collapsed after developing a high viral fever following a large, maggot-infected wound on her hind leg.

As news of her plight started trickling across the local media, efforts were made to get her medical aid and even provide shelter as the city has been facing heavy rains since the past ten days.

NGO Animals Matter To Me (AMTM) activist Ganesh Nayak said that after Bachchan's appeal on his blog and Twitter, offers of help have started coming.

Moved by her condition in the middle of the road, with no help from civic or zoo authorities, AMTM activists decided to take charge.

They hired a crane to lift her and take her to an open ground in Mulund where a temporary shed was erected to protect her from the rains. The city Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders have also volunteered to help her.

An elephant-specialist veterinarian is expected to arrive from Assam on Wednesday to treat Bijlee, a local Congress activist said.

Meanwhile, Bijlee has been examined by local general veterinarians and she is responding to treatment. She is given a balanced diet supplemented with medicines and nutrients.

AMTM has appealed to Mumbaikars to help in the form of food, medicines, money and time as her daily upkeep is an expensive affair.

According to some reports, Bijlee has worked non-stop for the past over four decades, hired out to attend special functions, inaugurations, weddings, and other events in and around Mumbai.

The ailing elephant Bijle had collapsed near Wockhardt Hospital in Mulund last week.

In a series of tweets, Amitabh said: "Attention! elephant 'Bijlee' lying collapsed in Mulund, suburb of Mumbai...she needs cure...will authorities please extend all help."

He further tweeted: "There is an NGO AMTM (Animals Matter to Me) working on Bijlee, giving food etc, but she needs to get to a hospital. Authority help needed. Equipment to carry (sic)."

"A compassionate appeal to all animal lovers. Please come forward and extend all possible help. I just did. Will you," he tweeted.

The actor also put up photographs of Bijlee on his blog with details of the NGO where one can contribute in whatever way possible.

"I am not in the habit of putting appeals on the social media, for reasons that concern me contractually. But I do believe in this unfortunate incident, and believe that if something can be done for this beleaguered elephant lying on the road in great misery, she will survive and flourish," he said in his blog post.

"So let us do our best that we can, for those that suffer, that speak of their misery in a language that we cannot understand, but who we know would understand any help that can be extended to them," he further added.

Bijlee, a 58-year-old female elephant, belongs to a couple who used her to beg for alms, marriages and other auspicious occasions.

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