Photos: Delhi’s last elephant Lakshmi, rescued after a two-month search

Lakshmi, Delhi’s last elephant, who had gone missing two months ago and for whom a pan-India alert had been sounded, was was finally traced to East Delhi’s Yamuna Khadar near Chilla village on Tuesday night. A rescue operation that spanned more than 16 hours ended on Wednesday afternoon when the 59-year-old female elephant was brought to the ITO nursery, from where officials were planning to take it to a rehabilitation centre in Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar district.

Updated On Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST 9 Photos
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Lakshmi, suffering from a zoonotic viral disease, is Delhi’s last elephant, and was supposed to be “seized” by the forest department for rehabilitation. The move was in accordance with a 2016 Delhi High Court order to take elephants in the city away from human habitation. She went missing just a few days before she was to be shifted to Haryana. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Lakshmi, suffering from a zoonotic viral disease, is Delhi’s last elephant, and was supposed to be “seized” by the forest department for rehabilitation. The move was in accordance with a 2016 Delhi High Court order to take elephants in the city away from human habitation. She went missing just a few days before she was to be shifted to Haryana. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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Lakshmi is taken to the Delhi Government Nursery after being found by the Delhi forest department. Early Wednesday morning at the Shakarpur police station, where the elephant was kept, several locals came to sneak a peek. The station complex teemed with locals until forest and wildlife department officials reached the spot. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Lakshmi is taken to the Delhi Government Nursery after being found by the Delhi forest department. Early Wednesday morning at the Shakarpur police station, where the elephant was kept, several locals came to sneak a peek. The station complex teemed with locals until forest and wildlife department officials reached the spot. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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Lakshmi at Shakarpur police station. At the station Lakshmi broke and ate branches in the compound. Residents watched in amazement as her mahout bathed the pachyderm under the hot Delhi sun. The first attempt by teams of forest department accompanied by Wildlife SOS, an NGO, to get Lakshmi out of the police station and on to a truck was met with protests by the family of her caretaker. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Lakshmi at Shakarpur police station. At the station Lakshmi broke and ate branches in the compound. Residents watched in amazement as her mahout bathed the pachyderm under the hot Delhi sun. The first attempt by teams of forest department accompanied by Wildlife SOS, an NGO, to get Lakshmi out of the police station and on to a truck was met with protests by the family of her caretaker. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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Lakshmi arrives at Government Nursery. She was taken to the police compound, and later taken out on foot, with the mahout’s assistant riding on her in a procession with six teams of police and wildlife department following her journey to ITO nursery. A convoy of government vehicles and policemen accompanied the elephant to make sure it reached without further trouble. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Lakshmi arrives at Government Nursery. She was taken to the police compound, and later taken out on foot, with the mahout’s assistant riding on her in a procession with six teams of police and wildlife department following her journey to ITO nursery. A convoy of government vehicles and policemen accompanied the elephant to make sure it reached without further trouble. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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DCP (east) Jasmeet Singh said, “The elephant was handed over to forest officials after the rescue and was provided protection. Her mahout Saddam has been arrested.” Later in the day, a Delhi court handed Saddam over to the police for custodial interrogation. “Lakshmi’s caretaker Yusuf Ali and his son Shakir are still at large and efforts are on to nab the duo,” Singh said. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

DCP (east) Jasmeet Singh said, “The elephant was handed over to forest officials after the rescue and was provided protection. Her mahout Saddam has been arrested.” Later in the day, a Delhi court handed Saddam over to the police for custodial interrogation. “Lakshmi’s caretaker Yusuf Ali and his son Shakir are still at large and efforts are on to nab the duo,” Singh said. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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Lakshmi being led onto a truck. Once at the nursery, Lakshmi was fed a dozen bananas and a quintal of sugarcane. A case has been registered against the trio for allegedly fleeing with the elephant from the Shakarpur police station area on July 6. A senior officer from the forest department said the elephant was, all this while, hidden in the Yamuna floodplains, near office of the DCP (east). (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Lakshmi being led onto a truck. Once at the nursery, Lakshmi was fed a dozen bananas and a quintal of sugarcane. A case has been registered against the trio for allegedly fleeing with the elephant from the Shakarpur police station area on July 6. A senior officer from the forest department said the elephant was, all this while, hidden in the Yamuna floodplains, near office of the DCP (east). (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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“A medical examination of the elephant was conducted, which approved that she was fit to travel. It took us almost four hours to finally get her to climb the truck to transport it to Haryana,” said a senior wildlife officer. The truck, had been laid with layers of mud, sugarcane, watermelons, cucumber, bananas, green fodder and enough water to make the road journey comfortable. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

“A medical examination of the elephant was conducted, which approved that she was fit to travel. It took us almost four hours to finally get her to climb the truck to transport it to Haryana,” said a senior wildlife officer. The truck, had been laid with layers of mud, sugarcane, watermelons, cucumber, bananas, green fodder and enough water to make the road journey comfortable. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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A fortnight ago, wildlife officials said, they got a tip-off that Lakshmi was in the Yamuna floodplains and being used commercially at weddings and Ganesh Chaturthi events. They sent informers as decoy customers and struck a deal with the caretaker. However, they somehow got wind of the plan and moved the animal. Meanwhile, Ali’s family alleges that officials hurt the animal while trying to transport her. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

A fortnight ago, wildlife officials said, they got a tip-off that Lakshmi was in the Yamuna floodplains and being used commercially at weddings and Ganesh Chaturthi events. They sent informers as decoy customers and struck a deal with the caretaker. However, they somehow got wind of the plan and moved the animal. Meanwhile, Ali’s family alleges that officials hurt the animal while trying to transport her. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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“We will take pursue this matter in court. We have a stay order, and they can’t take it away. Our family has raised the elephant, and is very attached to it,” Ali’s wife Shabana said. The senior wildlife official said that a team from the forest department and five trained mahouts will travel with Lakshmi to Haryana’s Ban Santour rehabilitation centre, where she will be housed permanently. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

“We will take pursue this matter in court. We have a stay order, and they can’t take it away. Our family has raised the elephant, and is very attached to it,” Ali’s wife Shabana said. The senior wildlife official said that a team from the forest department and five trained mahouts will travel with Lakshmi to Haryana’s Ban Santour rehabilitation centre, where she will be housed permanently. (Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 19, 2019 04:04 PM IST
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