Paralyzed leopard to be treated by international team

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Euthanasia plans for leopardess Laxmi scrapped, may now be treated by acupuncture

Thursday, August 10, 2006 13:56:28 IST

INDIA — Finally doctors from South Africa will land in the city for saving the life of Laxmi, the 19-year-old leopardess that lies immobile in the Veer Jijmata Udyan. The decision to bring South African vets for Laxmi’s treatment — which was initiated by Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, was discussed in the Zoo Improvement Committee (ZIC) meeting of BMC yesterday. The four hour-long meeting was attended by Dr Abdul Samad, dean of Bombay Veterinary College (BVC), Zoo officials and Additional Municipal Commissioner R A Rajeev and officials of Vansmith Animal Foundation (VSAF), a Mumbai-based animal welfare NGO.

The leopardess had suffered a paralytic attack on her hind legs and was shifted to the in-campus zoo hospital last December. However, the issue came to light when Tata Group said that it has made special arrangements to fly in specialists from South Africa for its treatment. Tata has also agreed to pay all the expenses incurred for further treatment of Laxmi.However, R A Rajeev, Additional Municipal Commissioner (city) said that the BMC hasn’t received any written letter from Ratan Tata to bring South African doctors. “I have heard about Tata’s decision to bring South African doctors. I haven’t received any written letter from them. But if something is done for a good cause, then why should we oppose it? In fact, we are happy that corporates are taking interest in Laxmi’s health,” Rajeev pointed out.

Interestingly sources in the zoo said that BMC has also invited expert advice from vets from other zoos in the country to decide on the further course of action on Laxmi.

Commenting on decisions made at the ZIC, A. L Paranjape, Public Relations Officer of the zoo said, “The decision to bring the South African vets has been approved. But at the same time, the Bombay Veterinary College has been asked to find some other medical ways to save the cat. We are also going to try acupuncture.”

When asked about the decision to seek expert advice from vets from other zoos in the country, he replied, “We have invited expert advice from other zoos. But the decision will be discussed at a meeting with the ZIC later.”

Confirming the decision to conduct acupuncture on Laxmi, Dr. M.S Karawle, deputy superintendent at the zoo said, “We are ready to do anything that will help the animal. The BMC has invited expert advice and we have also decided to conduct acupuncture on Laxmi. BVC also has been asked to find some other medical ways to help the animal. I have no problem if vets from South Africa come here for Laxmi’s treatment.”

Speaking to this newspaper, Dr. Abdul Samad, dean of BVC said, “At the ZIC meeting, all members were of the view that Laxmi should be given another chance to be treated. We have decided to bring animal experts within India and from abroad. The BVC had earlier opined that Laxmi should be considered for mercy killing as she wasn’t responding to treatment. But now, she is fine and responding to treatments. We will be conducting X-ray and imaging on Laxmi. I have also sought opinion of leading acupuncturists for Laxmi.”


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