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A sudden end for jumbo Sidda

Published On : 10 Dec 2016

Bengaluru, DHNS: Injured wild elephant loses 100-day-long battle for survival. Sidda, the 35-year-old wild male elephant, lost its battle for survival early on Friday, nearly 100 days after it fell into a ditch and fractured its right forelimb near Dodderi, off Mysuru Road, about 40 km west of Bengaluru.

While the elephant was treated by a team of veterinarians and moved to a kraal (a temporary structure), its chance of survival remained bleak. Dr Nagaraj D N, senior veterinary officer, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, who conducted the post-mortem on the animal, said the leg injury was the cause of death.

“Close to 15 litres of pus had accumulated in its body. As it was sterile pus, there was no odour and it remained undetected for the last three to four days. Pus formation led to multi-organ haemorrhage which caused death,” he told DH. He said fractures sustained by elephants rarely healed. The injuries become grave because of their weight. It was known that the chance of Sidda’s survival was bleak, he added.

The end came around 2 am as the elephant remained in the standing position in the kraal. At the time of death, it weighed four tonnes and both its tusks were intact.

The carcass was lifted by a crane and moved into a truck which took it to the Savanadurga state forest about one kilometre away for the post-mortem. “The animal was quickly shifted as we did not want crowds gathering here. Moreover, the animal had been sheltered on private land. The post-mortem was conducted by a team of doctors, the tusks were removed as per the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the animal was buried,” D Manjunath, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Ramanagaram Territorial Division, said.

Dr Arun Shah, from Wildlife SOS, Bannerghatta National Park, who, along with his team, was constantly monitoring Sidda, was in Agra on Friday when he received the news. He said that till 10 pm on Thursday, the animal was well-fed. It had consumed 200 kg of food, including grass, watermelon, ragi balls, coconut and pumpkin. Its diet and defecation were closely monitored, and infection appeared to be under control. Arun said the team was in the process of buying therapeutic ultrasound machines and other medical equipment to examine and treat Sidda better.

The time line

August 30: Sidda fractures its leg in a sand quarry, off Mysuru Road; found limping and strolling near urban areas.

August 31: Sedated and examined by veterinarians of the forest department.

September 2 : Limping, it reaches the Manchanabele backwaters.

For the next 4-5 days, the forest department do not disturb the animal as it spent most of the time in the water. The department and local residents start keeping a close watch on it and provide it food.
In September-end, Sidda is administered fruits and vegetables laced with medicines.

October 21: A team of doctors from Assam, Kerala, Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Bannerghatta Biological Park examine the animal.

October 24: Kumki elephants from Dubare and K Gudi bring Sidda out of the water. The elephant is sedated, its wounds examined and treated.

November 9: Sidda shifted to a kraal built by the Madras Engineer Group (MEG) of the Army.

December 9, 2 am: Dies in standing posture in the kraal.

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