An adult Indian elephant that became trapped in a swamp in Bangladesh after being caught up in raging flood waters has died after weeks of struggling for survival.
An elephant, believed to have travelled at least 1,700 km (1,060 miles) from the north-east Indian state of Assam to Bangladesh after it was swept away by strong river-currents, died on 16 August, Tuesday at Sarishabarhi’s Koyra village of Jamalpur district, about 200 km from Dhaka.
“It breathed its last at around 7am (0100 GMT). We have given our highest effort to save the animal. At least 10 forest rangers, vets and policemen have constantly followed it for the last 48 days. But our luck is bad,” Ashit Ranjan Paul, the government’s chief wild life conservator was quoted as saying by AFP.
The health of the animal, weighing about four tonnes, reportedly weakened after it spent weeks in flood waters. It was rescued on 11 August by a Bangladeshi forest department team. After being tranquillised the animal appeared agitated and ran amok. Later the tusker collapsed into a ditch after which the villagers and forest officials pulled it out of it.
The animal crossed the Brahmaputra river on 27 June and has since grabbed media attention and was followed by hundreds of people on boats. Police had to be deployed to make sure its journey was not disturbed.
Paul added, “In the end it became too tired by travelling such a great length. It had been separated from its herd for some two months and did not get the nutrients that it needed. Thousands of villagers followed it everyday as it entered into Bangladesh and then travelled to villages and river islands across the Brahmaputra river.”
Meanwhile, an expert team from India headed by a retired chief forest conservator had joined the Bangladeshi team on 4 July to rescue the elephant but returned three days later.
Christopher B. Taub