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800-year-old tree given IV drip to stay alive

There’s an 800-year-old tree in India that is being kept alive by an IV drip and I can’t think of anything better in the world than this right now.

Termites and age had infested the Banyan tree in India’s Mahabubnagar District, but determined locals were not having it.

They set about to save the tree and have inserted an IV drip into one of its branches, effectively saving its life.

Known as Pillalamarri because of its interweaving branches, the ancient banyan tree measures 405 feet from east to west and 408 feet from north to south, according to Mahabubnagar District Forest Officer Chukka Ganga Reddy.

The crown of Pillalamarri extends to 1,263 feet and the tree is spread across nearly four acres.

Underneath the tree stands a small shrine that supposedly dates back to the year 1200, but the tree’s exact age is unclear.

This epic tree attracts around 12,000 tourists a year to witness its power, and that has come with a heavy cost.

According to Telangana Today, when Pillalamarri turned into a tourist attraction nearly a decade ago, the state government cut down branches and built concrete sitting areas around the tree for visitors.

People picked at the leaves, climbed on the branches, and carved their names into the bark. Park maintenance and a nearby dam also affected the tree negatively.

The tree’s larger branches are now bending towards the ground instead of the sky, which attracts white ants and fungus. The termite infestation is yet one more problem weighing on Pillalamarri’s decaying, old body.

Officials initially injected the trunk with the pesticide chlorpyrifos but saw no improvement.

So they tried another method to prevent decay: hundreds of saline bottles filled with chlorpyrifos, inserted into Pillalamarri’s branches.

“This process has been effective,” Reddy told the Times of India.

Telangana Biodiversity Board scientist G Sailu added, “The tree site cannot be declared as biodiversity heritage site as it is in reserve forest. The forest department shall give the great tree a heritage tag and conserve it.”

For now, the tree is closed off to visitors.

Plans to re-open tourism are being considered, however, “This time people have to see it from a distance away from the barricades,” said Reddy.

For now, drip-by-drip, the banyan tree is being lovingly restored to its full glory.

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