Once Lucknow Zoo’s priced possession, Sumit, a 55-year old male elephant, died at the Dudhwa National Park in the wee hours of Thursday.
The pachyderm was shifted to the national park on May 2 last following directives of the Central Zoo Authority to shift all elephants to national parks.
According to veterinary doctors attending to the ailing elephant, Sumit was suffering from various old-age related diseases and could not recover even after proper medical care.
Deputy director of the Dudhwa National Park, Sanjay Kumar Pathak, said the body had been sent for autopsy to ascertain the cause of death.
A pall of gloom descended on the Lucknow Zoo as soon as the news of Sumit’s death reached there. Especially, Sumit’s caretaker at the Lucknow Zoo was too shocked to say anything about the death of his beloved ‘partner’.
At Lucknow Zoo, Sumit entertained visitors for more than a decade before being shifted to the Dudhwa National Park. Sumit was separated from his partner Jaimala, who was sent to Katarniya Ghat. These two elephants were sent to forests because the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) realised that elephants were large animals and needed vast space, which zoos cannot provide.
The CZA had issued a circular a couple of months back which stated that elephants were big herbivorous and needed a lot of space to roam around. As a result, some of the elephants were chained for long hours, causing distress. Following this circular, elephants from several zoos all across the country were shifted to the national parks.