MEF with the assistance of WSPA operates a pioneering veterinary service to provide medical care for domesticated and wild elephants in Sri Lanka. The MVU supplies a vehicle that is used to transport qualified veterinarians (based at the University of Peradeniya) and medicines to elephants in need. The vehicle running costs and medicines are generally met by MEF. It is not unusual for the MVU to travel hundreds of miles in one day.
From time to time clinics’ are convened, where a mobile unit is set up to treat many animals at one time. This is a more efficient way of treating several elephants simultaneously; it is also an opportunity to meet their owners.
The financial burden of elephant ownership can sometimes be overwhelming for some elephant owners when their elephants’ become elderly or ill. Given that MEF provides the MVU free of charge it is hoped the MVU service will encourage more elephant owners to call for veterinary assistance for their elephants’ sooner rather than later and before their elephants welfare is compromised.
Volunteers can assist the vets and learn more about elephant care by joining them on MVU call outs, like this one to see Ranjeevi the elephant.
In July 2012 MEF added elephant sun shades to the MVU kit. To be taken on visits to sick elephants and to Pera heras to provide elephants with necessary shade during the hot days waiting for processions to start.