The 35-year-old elephant Moti passed away on Saturday after suffering a leg and foot injury from being abused his whole life, animal welfare organization Wildlife SOS said.
Moti was living in captivity till 2021 when his owner died, local media said. He was then left on his own on the streets to beg in the town of Ramnagar.
In January, Wildlife SOS was alerted about the Asian elephant Moti, who had collapsed and couldn’t stand up. When veterinarians arrived, they saw that Moti had severe injuries to his leg. His foot pad was separating from the foot base, and there was severe detachment on his right foot’s 3rd and 4th toenails.
“His foot pad has torn away from the base of his foot, and the excruciating pain he was experiencing likely caused him to collapse,” Wildlife SOS said.
Moti update:— Wildlife SOS (@WildlifeSOS) January 23, 2023
What we are seeing is that his foot pad has torn away from the base of his foot and the excruciating pain he was experiencing likely caused him to collapse. However, we are still trying to get x-rays to understand what underlying skeletal issues he is having. pic.twitter.com/MXUEw1NKDO
He also fractured his leg, and blood tests showed that Moti’s kidney and liver functions were compromised.
Foot problems are the biggest problems we see with captive elephants. They are forced to walk on hot concrete roads, which leads to glass, and other objects getting stuck in their feet, Wildlife SOS said, adding that the hot surfaces can also burn their feet.
“Moti’s death was preventable,” the organizations said. Their veterinarians likely could have saved him if they had been alerted of Moti’s condition sooner.
Wildlife SOS requested the Indian government to take action to protect all captive elephants through required inspections every two years and veterinary certificates of health.
“Moti’s physical condition at the time his legs gave out was shocking, It didn’t need an expert to spot that Moti needed urgent and timely medical attention, and the delay in addressing his medical situation compounded by severe lack of skilled veterinary care led to a very painful end for this young elephant,” Wildlife SOS said.