Dhara has passed away

Thanks for your support for Dhara.  Please feel free to leave a tribute message in the comments section below.Dhara, the elephant calf, was less than a year old. She was found alone, orphaned during the severe monsoon floods that hit the Indian state of Assam this June.

Dhara and her family must have been fleeing the rising water. Rushing to higher ground she suffered a crippling injury, one that would eventually prove fatal.

She was admitted on June 28th to the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Center in Kaziranga with a severe elbow dislocation on her left front leg. Our team of vets provided immediate first aid, took x-rays of her injured leg and fitted a reinforced cast on the ailing elephant’s leg to stabilize it for the next 21 days.

The Center is currently home to eight orphan elephants. We rescue calves that have been injured, orphaned or displaced and need rescue. Our first choice when encountering injured wildlife is always to treat the animal in the field and help it to rejoin its family. Unfortunately for Dhara, this wasn’t possible and her only chance of survival was to care for her at the Center in the hope that she could recover, and in due course, be released back to the wild.

Caring for an elephant calf and rehabilitating it back to the wild is no simple task. It takes round-the-clock commitment from caretakers, expert veterinary services, and years of experience; still there are no guarantees.

We knew that Dhara’s injury was complicated. Surviving the terrible ordeal of losing her mother and herd during the floods was a remarkable feat in itself; would she also have enough resilience to recover from such a devastating injury?

At her young age, the calf was fed enriched milk nine times a day and had a caretaker by her side at all times. She had regular vet check-ups and the Center staff was encouraged to see Dhara regain her energy, walk around the nursery, eat well, and behave like other elephants.

As planned, at day 21, the cast was removed. Again we were hopeful when we saw that she could bear her full weight on the injured leg and move slowly around her enclosure.

On July 26th she was allowed to go out of the nursery for a short and slow walk. She fell once and did not look stable, so she was quickly taken back to the enclosure. By then, she was unable to stand properly and leaned on the walls for support. A few minutes later the vets put her on an intravenous saline drip.

Dhara’s health never recovered and she passed away on July 28, exactly one month after she arrived to the Center.

A necropsy (animal autopsy) was conducted and the severity of the joint dislocation became evident. Her lungs appeared slightly congested but that isn’t unusual after the fall she suffered and her struggles that last day.

Additional samples were collected and sent to the nearby College of Veterinary Science in Guwahati to run some more tests and get a better idea of the cause of death.  

Dhara had gone through enormous stress the past few weeks – fleeing the floods, being separated from her family, enduring such a painful and severe injury.  Our caregivers poured their hearts into treating her, and so many of our supporters pitched in to help as well. 

Unfortunately, the reality of rescuing wild animals is that sometimes, despite our best care and most hopeful wishes, they simply can’t survive their injuries. 

We’ve had so very many success stories to share with you; it’s inevitable that we have to share some losses as well.  Those moments are difficult and sad, but we know we must move forward with renewed dedication. 

The remaining elephants at the Wildlife Rescue Center…the rhinos and deer we rescued from the same Indian flooding…and the dogs, cats, bear cubs, raptors, and so many other animals we’re caring for around the world remind us how vital and enduring our mission to protect animals truly is.

Thank you for all the well wishes for Dhara, and thank you especially for your incredible support.

--IR

Comments: 347

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I was so saddened to hear of Dhara's passing. She was lucky to have experienced such great care and love. Keep up the great work and thank you.

 
theresa hughes
2 years ago

So sad. I had really hoped she would make it. Must be very hard for all of you who gave her such special loving care. God Bless all of you

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I am so very sorry to have lost her, but pray she is with God and all of His heavenly animals now. Thank you, IFAW, for all of your wonderful work! Julie Klor

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thats so sad about Dhara. But thank you to IFAW and everyone that donated to help her.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you IFAW for all you did for Dhara. I am saddened by her passing but glad to know she did not die alone in fear and pain.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks to all who helped Dhara! Your kindness and generosity will continue to provide you strength so that you may continue your selfless work,
Bless you, Dhara!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I was so saddedned to hear that precious Dhara passed away. She is up in heaven now and playing with all the precious animals GOD created an feeling no more pain but happiness. Thank you IFAW for caring and trying to help these precious gifts from GOD. I will continue to support you as much as I can!!!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Fly free little one. Remember us who loved you and that not everyone here is cruel. I hope whoever you really belong to, can forgive the ignorance here.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Good bye for now, little Dhara. Each death diminishes us, but swells a glorious world we have yet to see.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I am so sad to hear about sweet Dhara's passing. Thank you IFAW for giving her the most wonderful care and love.

Mary Lee

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
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Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
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Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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