Ailing 37-year-old male tusker Drona died at the Mathigodu elephant camp in the Nagarhole sanctuary near Titimati in Karnataka on Friday. The death of the reserve elephant for the Mysuru Dasara has created a stir among the camp’s mahouts, who had tried to revive the elephant and who allege that timely medical intervention could have saved Drona’s life.
According to the mahouts, Drona was ill for quite some time and given the summer heat, his condition had further aggravated. “On Friday morning, noticing that Drona’s body movements were weak, we even took him to a water reservoir and repeatedly splashed water on him. He was slipping and unable to stand. We repeatedly called the zoo authorities to summon the veterinarian to take a look at him, but medical help did not arrive until he died,” a mahout said.
Highlighting the medical neglect of the animals, the caretakers said that despite the district housing two elephant camps, one at Dubare and another at Mathigodu, the swiftest medical help for the 26 elephants has to come from Mysuru city and is not available within the camp or in Kodagu district. “Even the mandatory medical check during summer is not carried out as per schedule and the consultants have not changed the animals’ diet for the summer, which has us worried,” a mahout alleged.
Once a rouge elephant, Drona was captured for raiding agricultural areas in Hassan by forest officers in 2014. From there, he was sent to the Mathigodu camp to be tamed.
According to the local mahouts, Drona also aided the forest officials in tiger combing operations. “Drona was a senior elephant and his presence restored a sense of confidence among the officials, who were out to capture other rogue elephants,” they claimed.
In two previous seasons of the Mysuru Dasara, Drona was positioned in the ‘reserve elephant’ squad. “Given his training, he was never troubled by sharp sounds or crowd presence and acted casually when visitors posed for a selfie with him,” the caretakers said.
While the Director of Nagarahole National Park, KM Narayanaswamy, said that it was a case of heart attack, the mahouts are insistent that the neglect of animals must also be probed.
Story by www.storyinfinity.com (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP).