Saturday, September 6, 2008

Elephant cured of heroin addiction

KUNMING, China, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities said an Asian elephant that had become addicted to heroin is being transferred to a wildlife sanctuary after three years of detoxification.

The male elephant, named Xiguang, became addicted to heroin in March 2005 after he ate bananas that had been smeared with the drug by smugglers and used to lure Xiguang and five other elephants on the China-Myanmar border, Xinhua, China (OTCBB:XHUA)'s official government-run news agency, reported Friday.

Chinese police reclaimed the elephants in May 2005 and Xiguang was sent to an animal protection center in Hainan after authorities confirmed it was suffering from heroin withdrawal.

Veterinarians and rehabilitation experts gave Xiguang methadone treatments at five times the normal human dose for one year and carefully watched for two years to ensure the animal was cured of his addiction.

Xiguang was being taken to the Yunnan Wild Animal Park in the city of Kunming.


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