Naming of captive elephant in Nepal

Gobinda Prasad Pokharel

A captive elephant inside an Elephant Breeding and Training Center in Chitwan, Nepal, gave birth to a calf after 3 hours of cesarean. This is the first time, in the case of Nepal, that a captive pachyderm gave birth after a c-section.

The calf was given a name, BijayaGaj, in honor of the veterinary doctor who led the surgery on the pachyderm. The birth of an elephant after a c-section is considered rare when the health conditions of the mother and calf are normal. Past cases show the deaths of the mother and calf after a c-section for these mega herbivores. However, the calf and the mother are taken care of with full consideration because of the conservationists’ fear that the calf might get infected by the disease.

The captive calf of this Asian elephant has a high probability of transmission of diseases like elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses, which can cause hemorrhagic disease and lead to death. On the other hand, there are high chances of disease transmission in the mother’s wound, where the outer part of the skin is still open.

The doctor stitched the inner part of the skin of the wound. The wound is about one foot (30.48 cm) after the surgery. On the other hand, the mother did not identify her calf. It is not considering its child and did not allow it to come nearby. The male calf is given skimmed milk with a ratio of 1:12 liters of water. Conservationists fear the adoption of the calf by its mother. They doubt that this may be due to a cesarean.

In Nepal, the name of the calf born inside the breeding center was given by the members of the royal family. Following the abolition of the monarchy and implementation of the new federal system in Nepal, the naming of calves in honor of a place, a special day, a conservationist, and so on, has started.

Previously, the calf was given the titles of king, queen, prince, and princess, along with the other members of the royal family, by the Royal Palace. These days, the name is given by the Chief Conservation Officer of the National Park in a ritual ceremony. A special ritual is followed in naming the calf on the 12 days following its birth. During the naming ceremony of the calf, guests are invited to see the function and are offered food inside the breeding center.

I wrote this in Ekantipur and Kantipur Daily both on 19th March of 2023 in the given heading :

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Gobinda Pokharel