Hyderabad zoo mourns death of beloved elephant Rani and a leopard

Rani, who was 83 years old, was gifted to the zoo in 1963 by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad.
A collage of Rani and Ayyappan
A collage of Rani and Ayyappan
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Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park has announced the loss of an 83-year-old female Asiatic elephant, Rani, and a 21-year-old male leopard, Ayyappa. Both the animals passed away due to age-related ailments, zoo officials said. Rani was born on October 7, 1938, and was gifted to the zoo by the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, in 1963. Elephants in the wild live upto 50-60 years, while those in captivity have an average lifespan of 70. Rani had created a record by surpassing both these numbers. She was also the third-oldest Asiatic elephant in the world.

On October 1, 1963, she was moved from Bagh-e Aam, now known as Public Gardens in Nampally, to the Nehru Zoological Park. She became the centre of attraction immediately and had a regular appearance in the Bonalu and Muharram processions. According to zoo authorities, Rani had been suffering from age-related ailments, which were being treated and monitored by the zoo's veterinary experts on a regular basis. To improve her quality of life, she was given supportive medications and specific vitamins on a monthly basis. Rani passed away on June 8, 2021, and her post-mortem reports revealed that she died of old age-related multiple organ failure. 

Rani was suffering from arthritis, as a result of which she could not lie down and relax like the other elephants. So, for her convenience, zoo authorities constructed a special earthen mound in her enclosure which she could lean against. In July 2020, Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Foundation & Apollo Life, who is also the daughter-in-law of Tollywood actors Ram Charan and Chiranjeevi, had volunteered to adopt Rani for a year. 

The zoo officials and workers celebrated Rani’s birthday every year with great enthusiasm. Her passing away has come as a blow to many. The zoo authorities and her caretakers paid her a floral tribute. As Rani has passed away, currently, the zoo has 4 Asiatic Elephants which include 3 females and one male. 

On June 9, 2021, Ayyappa, a 21-year-old male leopard also passed away due to age-related ailments, including multiple organ failure. He was born on June 16, 2000, and crossed the average lifespan of 15 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity for leopards. During his last moments, he was being monitored by the zoo veterinarians. The zoo authorities and staff have expressed their grief at the passing of these beloved animals. 

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