By Kamna Mathur
Lucknow, Jan.25 : While the entire north India is under cold wave, the jumbos at a zoo here are being given a special oil massage to prevent them from chill.
The mahouts at the zoo use about two and half kilogram of lukewarm mustard oil and massage the pachyderm for at least one hour after bath to keep their body warm. According to Ranu Singh, the Director of the zoo, such a massage helps in improving blood circulation and generating heat. "Due to extreme cold, we felt that the animals must be facing problems. Hence, we first give the elephants a bath for cleanliness. Then we give them a hot oil massage. We massage them with mustard oil. This generates heat in their body. They get tremendous relief and their skin starts shining. Mustard oil helps them get rid of all kinds of infections," she said. Besides these elephants are being given a special diet of sugarcane. India has over 50 percent of Asiatic elephants but their population has been dwindling due to frequent poaching. In the last census held in 2005, the number of wild elephants in the region was 350, an increase of eight animals since 2000. A national census in 2005 shows there were 25,000 to 28,000 elephants in India, including only 1,500 male tuskers of breeding age.