A 38-year-old female elephant named Roopa, brought in for a photoshoot at Goregaon’s Film City died on Friday near the gate, a forest official said. The elephant’s owner said he noticed swelling in her throat and stomach after she ate some sugarcane around 1pm.
Roopa was brought from her owner’s house in Borivli to Goregaon for the shoot, on the request of a friend the previous day. “She was fine when we brought her to Goregaon. But after eating the sugarcane, she seemed to be in some discomfort. There was immediate swelling. Around 3pm, Roopa collapsed outside the gate and in moments, died,” her owner, Saba Shankar Pandey, said. Pandey said one of his friends wanted to feed her and take pictures later. While Pandey maintains a medical examination done a month ago said she was fit, animal activists said CCTV cameras in the area should be checked. “The owner needs to get permission from the forest department before making it travel from Borivli to Goregaon. If the animal was unwell and being taken to perform, it is illegal. It also has to be investigated why there was no veterinarian,” said Pawan Sharma, president, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare. Pandey said he had told the forest department about Roopa’s death. Officials confirmed, but said they got information four hours after the incident.
“Our officers and animal activists reached the spot, veterinarians from Sanjay Gandhi National Park were informed,” said Santosh Kank, range forest officer, Mumbai. “We will do a post-mortem on Saturday and also check if the owner had a license to keep the elephant.” In 2013, 58-year-old Bijlee died in Mumbai after she was overworked and overweight. Veterinarians from Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said she was ill-treated by her owner and made to survive on junk food .