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“A new diagnostic for elephants”
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“A new diagnostic for elephants”

Achuth MenonNormally calm elephants can become aggressive and pose a lethal danger during musth, writes Achuth Menon, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from India, but a new diagnostic tool will help predict when the cycle begins.

Innocent lives can be lost during India’s time of festivals. 

Elephant handlers and festival goers can be killed when normally calm elephants suddenly become aggressive. The deadly interfaces between human beings and elephants can occur when elephants are suffering from musth, a periodic condition of male elephants during which the tuskers ooze out a thick fluid from their temporal ducts on either side of the head. 

A Tirupati-based scientist, Dr. C. Jairaj, has developed non-invasive diagnostic equipment to predict musth in elephants without physical examination. 

At present the musth in the elephants is being diagnosed by monitoring the behavior symptoms of elephants. 

When the musth appears, elephants become aggressive and dangerously active with testosterone levels rising by 60 times more than during a normal period. 

The new equipment has a video camera and a computer monitor with which the musth symptoms in elephants can be detected early by monitoring the musth glands. It works by absorbing the heat emitting from the elephant’s body. 

Dr. Jairaj said the initial trial conducted in elephants including those at PunnathurKota in Guruvayur have been successful. 

The electronic device will be handy to mahouts and caretakers to provide rest to the elephants during the beginning of musth, thereby avoiding the opportunity for aggressive and potentially dangerous contact between animal and human.

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About me:
I am a graduate in commerce from the University of Calicut, with a diploma in journalism. At present I am a reporter for Associated News of India based at Palakkad, which serves print, electronic, and web-based media in different parts of the country.

I have inherent passion, dedication and enthusiasm. My motivation as a journalist is to give coverage of the oppressed and suppressed that will bring their challenges and issues to the attention of people at the helm of affairs.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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