HC asks govt to shift elephant affected by TB from Nilgiris
The Times of India - 7-5-09
CHENNAI: Concerned at the possibility of wild elephants contracting tuberculosis from a captive elephant that is affected with the disease, the Madras high court has asked the government to immediately shift the TB-affected temple elephant out of the Theppakkadu elephant camp in the Nilgiris.
The 58-year-old Andal, an elephant of Madurai Kallalagar Temple, was taken to the camp in the Nilgiris for treatment on January 28.
Objecting to their presence in the Nilgiris, which is home to several hundreds of wild elephants, a public interest writ petition was filed by Elephant G Rajendran, who contended that unless the TB-affected Andal is shifted out of the sanctuary region immediately, many free-ranging pachyderms too would catch infection.
The state forest department, admitting that Andal suffered from TB, said it had been quarantined and that the chance of TB spreading to other elephants was remote.
A division bench comprising Justice K Mohan Ram and Justice M Duraiswamy, concurring with the submissions of Rajendran, said Andal should be re-transported to the plains and kept at the Kurumpatti zoo. The transportation cost would be borne by Rajendran, it said, adding that the animal should not be made to travel more than 75km a day.
As for the treatment, the bench said the state forest department could avail itself of the petitioner's offer of doctor and drugs for the animal. "The petitioner may be permitted to bring specialised veterniary doctors from abroad to treat the animal, if necessary," the judges said, adding that the forest authorities should cooperate with the petitioner in that regard