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

Sweet Dhara I am so sorry for your loss , Hope you are in peace with God now .

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thinking of you, Dhara.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Liebe Dhara. Schade, dass du es nicht geschafft hast. Aber in deinem neuen Leben im Elefantenhimmel wird es dir besser gehen. Und irgendwann wieder mit deiner Familie und Herde zusammen glücklich vereint sein.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Dommage pour cette petite DHARA, qui ne pensait sans doute qu'a VIVRE. Vous avez fait le maximum et je vous en remercie de tout COEUR. Malheureusement parfois le destin nous échappe et nous en sommes très triste. Courage à toute votre équipe que je soutiens autant que possible par mes dons. Vous faites des choses FORMIDABLES. MERCI encore pour tout.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Dearest Dhara,

For ever in my heart!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

So very sorry to hear of Dhara's passing. I was hoping she would recover. We can't always control the outcome in these situations, but we must continue to do our best. Thank you for trying to save her and for all that you do.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Armes Baby! Das tut mir so leid!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

très triste

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Zo zie je maar weer hoe kwetsbaar dieren kunnen zijn!
Rust zacht Dhara!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

From across the world, I send love to Dhara in spirit, and to all the selfless people who have helped to care for her. Thank you to those of you who work in the trenches and do the difficult work, and bear the worst heartache of such a loss as the beautiful Dhara. God bless you all. Thank you for everything that you do.
Joan Hobbs

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia