India’s first elephant hospital cheers animal activists, draws tourists

At India’s first hospital for elephants, opened last week in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, 49-year old Asha placed her left foreleg on a stool for a doctor to attend to an injury while visitors filmed it all on their mobile phones.

The facility, armed with facilities such as wireless digital X-Ray, thermal imaging, ultrasonography, tranquilisation devices and quarantine facilities, has not only come as a respite to the elephants but is also attracting local and foreign tourists.

Elephants are an important part of India’s culture and are prominently displayed in festivals and processions in the south of the country. They are also used as tourist attractions at several forts and palaces in the northern and western regions.

The hospital, inaugurated on Friday in the Hindu holy town of Mathura, is spread over 12,000 square feet and is designed to treat injured, sick or geriatric elephants.

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