Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura now hosts a hospital which offers facilities like a wireless digital X-Ray, thermal imaging, ultrasonography and quarantine facilities – except, this is not for humans but for elephants.

According to Reuters, this is India’s first hospital for elephants and is not only a welcome respite for the pachyderms but has also brought cheer to tourists and animal activists. The contribution of elephants in Indian culture is vast and they are displayed prominently in our artwork, on national monuments and certain places of worship.

“I think by building a hospital we are underlining the fact that elephants need welfare measures as much as any other animal,” Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, the non-profit behind the hospital, told Reuters TV.

 

“That captive elephants are not meant to be used and abused but instead have to be given the respect which an animal needs if you are going to be using the animal (sic),” she added.

Animal rights activists have long bemoaned the fact that while elephants play a huge role in certain religious functions and festivals, they are also treated terribly by mahouts and there aren’t enough trained professionals who know how to care for the animals.

However, the creatures can rest easy now. “Look at them, they are so much happier and when you see the abuse that they have been through, the horrible shackles that were put on their feet and to see them all healed up, it’s just really nice,” said Elizabeth Ritson, a tourist from Australia to the news website.