Elephant dies after 1,000-mile journey from India to Bangladesh


Agence France-Presse

Date Published

See link for photo of elephant.

An elephant thought to have travelled at least 1,000 miles (1,600km) from India into Bangladesh after floods separated it from the herd has died, despite efforts to save it.

The distressed animal was tranquillised three times during repeated attempts to transport it to a safari park in Bangladesh, after the elephant crossed the border in late June.

It was eventually given large amounts of saline and chained in a paddy field to help it recover, but the animal was “too weak and tired” from the ordeal, officials said.

“It breathed its last at about 7am (0100 GMT),” the government’s chief wildlife conservator, Ashit Ranjan Paul, said.

“We have given our highest effort to save the animal. At least 10 forest rangers, vets and police officers have constantly followed it for the last 48 days. But our luck is bad.”

Paul said the animal is believed to have travelled more than 1,060 miles from Assam in north-east India after being separated from its herd in severe flooding.

The animal ran amok and charged into a pond after Bangladeshi forest officials hit it with a tranquilliser dart on Thursday. Local villagers jumped into the pond to prevent the four-tonne animal from drowning by stopping it toppling into the water.

A mahout was critically injured during another rescue effort on Monday after being kicked by the tranquillised elephant.

Local media blamed excessive tranquillising for the animal’s death, saying it became too weak to stand. But Paul said the journey to the safari park was responsible and rescue efforts had been hampered by thousands of curious villagers following the elephant.

“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,” he said.

“Thousands of villagers followed it every day as it entered into Bangladesh and then travelled to villages and river islands across the Brahmaputra river.”