Union minister Maneka Gandhi, who is also a wildlife activist, on Tuesday spent some time with elephants rescued from illegal captivity at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura.
Thanking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for his support, the minister for women and child development spent some time with elephants Phoolkali, Maya, Sai Geeta and Chanchal, who are among the 14 housed at the facility.
The Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, run by Wildlife SOS, is the first of its kind in India and has special facilities to care for rescued elephants.
It has pools for hydrotherapy, as well as facilities for digital x - ray, foot care equipment and a team of veterinarians specially trained for providing foot care and geriatric care to elephants.
Elephants who suffer from arthritis and other ailments as well as lifestyle diseases are also cared for and treated here.
The facility also has India's first elephant ambulance, equipped with hydraulic pumps and veterinary facilities.
"The Uttar Pradesh government and Wildlife SOS have created a unique model by establishing India's first elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre. I am hopeful that other state governments will follow the model, " Gandhi told media persons.
Stating that it was extremely hard to raise funds, she asked people to sponsor the elephants by visiting the website www. wildlifesos. org.
She also asked the Uttar Pradesh tourism department to put the rescue centre on the tourism map.
The elephants at the Mathura centre were rescued from illegal captivity and circuses where they were subjected to cruelty.