They say elephants never forget. A heartbroken elephant in a forest reserve in Bihar certainly can’t forget her partner who died this week after many years of togetherness.
Forest officials say Rupa refuses to eat and has been depressed since her partner, Amrit, died of arthritis even though she had been separated from him in his last days when he was undergoing treatment.
“Rupa has been refusing food and is incommunicative since the death of Amrit. She is melancholy personified,” said Prabhu Sahni, the mahout looking after Rupa and Amrit at the Valmikinagar Tiger Project (VTR) in West Champaran district.
The two elephants had been inseparable before they were rescued from a circus in Patna and put in a Patna zoo for a few years. They were moved to the reserve in 2007.
“Since their circus days they were together. Even at VTR, they helped each other in their daily chores and shared their food equally. Amrit’s departure appears to have created a vacuum in Rupa’s life,” said Sahni.
Forest officials and animal lovers were fascinated with Rupa and Amrit’s attachment.
“Rupa never became pregnant as she never accepted another male partner in VTR other than Amrit, who was suffering from arthritis for a long time that restricted his bodily functions,” said an official.
Officials said Amrit’s condition began deteriorating soon after Rupa was separated from him. “But there too, she has almost completely shunned food, perhaps because of a sense of foreboding of Amrit’s death. That’s how she remains,” said Sahni.