• Friday, July 19, 2024

Human Interest

India’s oldest domestic elephant Bijuli Prasad dies in Assam at 89: ‘Was a symbol of pride’

Local tea-garden workers, animal lovers and others gathered to mourn the pachyderm’s death.

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

BIJULI PRADAS, India’s oldest domestic Asiatic elephant, on Monday (21) passed away in Sonitpur district of the eastern state of Assam, officials said.

They added that the animal breathed its last at the Behali Tea Estate of the Williamson Magor Group around 3.30 am local time due to age-related ailments.

Local tea-garden workers, animal lovers and others gathered to mourn the pachyderm’s death.

“Bijuli Prasad was a symbol of pride for The Williamson Magor Group. It was first brought to the Bargang tea estate as a calf, and later shifted here after the Bargang tea estate was sold off by the company,” an official of the tea garden was quoted as saying by the PTI.

The elephant, whose age is estimated to be 89 years, was leading a royal life in the tea estate post retirement, he said.

Padma Shri awardee and noted Indian elephant surgeon Dr Kushal Konwar Sarma told PTI, “As far as my knowledge is concerned, Bijuli Prasad was the oldest recorded domestic elephant in India.”

Usually, the wild Asiatic elephants live up to 62-65 years, while the domestic ones survive till around 80 years with proper care, he said.

“After all its teeth fell off around 8-10 years ago, Bijuli Prasad could not eat anything and was about to die. Then I went there and treated him. I had changed all his regular food and started mostly boiled food like rice and soybean with high protein value. This increased his longevity,” Sarma said. An official of the Behali tea estate said that the elephant was offered around 25 kilograms of food daily.

In February 2019, an 88-year-old Asian elephant named Dakshayani died in the southern Indian state of Kerala after collapsing in her shelter. She was called the “grandmother” among elephants since she had witnessed many generations of tuskers growing up before her.

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