Swept away by Brahmaputra, Assam jumbo dies in Bangladesh

The distressed animal was tranquillised three times in sometimes dramatic bids to try to transport him to a safari park.

Published: 16th August 2016 11:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2016 08:08 PM   |  A+A-

GUWAHATI: An Assam elephant, distressed in Bangladesh, died on Tuesday, more than 50 days after it was swept away into the neighbouring country by the flooded Brahmaputra.

“The elephant died this (Tuesday) morning. Forest officials tried their best to rescue it from a pond (in Jamalpur district) but, unfortunately, they couldn’t save its life,” inspector Ashim Mallick of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Bangladesh, told Express.

He could not give the exact reasons for its death but said the animal had become very weak in distress.

After a series of attempts over the past few weeks, the Bangladeshi forest officials tranquilized the adult jumbo, which was named ‘Bangabahadur’, on August 11 and chained it to a tree. They had plans to relocate it to a safari park outside Dhaka for rehabilitation but it managed to break free and later, charged into a pond and fell unconscious.

Several attempts by the locals and forest officials to rescue it proved futile.

While being stranded in the neighbouring country, the elephant had first taken refuge on a sandbar. Later, it moved about places unleashing terror by damaging property and crops.

A three-member team of Assam’s forest department, including two elephant experts, had visited Bangladesh in the first week of August to try and retrieve the elephant but had to abandon the mission. The officials could not tranquilize it as it was found holed up in a riverine area. The jumbo had not come out of the water on seeing the large turnout of onlookers every day.

Mallick said the elephant had become the talk of the town. Several locals wept on getting the news of its death, he said.

The elephant was believed to be of the Kaziranga National Park. The latest wave of flood in Assam had claimed the lives of over 300 animals, including rhinos, in the park.

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