Ailing Corbett elephant Lakshmi dies after 4-month-long illness
The health of 55-year-old elephant Lakshmi had been deteriorating over the last one week and despite providing her the best possible treatment, she died on Tuesday night.Updated: Aug 02, 2019 14:45 IST
The 55-year-old elephant Lakshmi, which had been ailing for over last four months, died in Ramnagar forest division in the outskirts of Corbett Tiger Reserve on Tuesday night.
BP Pant, forest ranger Kosi Ramnagar said Lakshmi’s health had been deteriorating over the last one week. “She was unable to stand and eat properly. Her condition worsened on Tuesday night. When we called the veterinary doctors, they declared her dead. Her last rites were performed on Wednesday following post mortem,” he said.
Pant said they had tried their best to provide best possible treatment to Lakshmi. “But she was suffering from severe foot infection and age-related ailments for over four months at Aamdanda area of Corbett. Despite our best efforts, her condition worsened.”
Lakshmi was one of the eight elephants seized by the Uttarakhand forest department in August last year following the high court’s directions. It was for the first time the forest department had seized elephants from private individuals in the state.
While hearing a public interest litigation regarding encroachments around Corbett Tiger Reserve, HC on August 3, 2018 had directed the state forest department to take possession of the elephants with private individuals here. Accordingly, eight elephants were seized from around the Corbett Tiger Reserve (7) in Ramnagar and Almora district (1).
As Lakshmi’s condition was not improving, the forest department had announced the constitution of a panel in June to discuss euthanasia or mercy killing. But the option was ruled out last month.
In May this year, the state forest department had also written a letter to the Uttar Pradesh forest department to seek permission for shifting Lakshmi to Elephant Care Centre at Matura for better treatment. Later in the same month, a team from Mathura arrived in Corbett, checked Lakshmi’s medical condition and made some recommendations regarding its treatment. But given its fragile health, it could not be shifted.
According to Parag Madhukar Dhakate, chief conservator of forests (CCF) western circle Kumaon, Lakshmi fell sick in March this year and since then forest department was trying its best to get it properly treated. He said experts were called from Agra, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehradun, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Izatnagar, Bareilly and Mathura. In April, the forest officials had even sought services of South Africa’s noted veterinarian Dr Kobus Rath to treat the tusker.
Another elephant dies
Meanwhile, another 56-year-old female elephant Kalina, who had been retired to its owner nearly one and half month ago following Supreme Court directions, died in Dikula area of Ramnagar on Wednesday evening.
BP Pant, forest ranger Kosi Ramnagar said Kalina had been released on the directions of the Supreme Court nearly a month and a half back to its owner Faizal. “Faizal is said to be somewhere abroad at present. Kalina’s post mortem will be held on Thursday,” Pant said.
BP Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO) Ramnagar said on Thursday morning, he sent two veterinary doctors for conducting post mortem of Kalina. “She had developed an infection in her ear. But we didn’t know that she was about to die. Her physical condition was good. Samples of her viscera will be sent to animal testing lab at Bareilly to ascertain the exact cause of her death,” he said.
With this, two of the eight elephants that were seized by the forest officials around Corbett Tiger Reserve in August last year on the directions of the Uttarakhand high court, died within 24 hours.