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.


Comments: 347

5 years ago

Thank you to everyone for looking after and taking care of Dhara, you will always have a special place in my heart.

5 years ago

With all my love!! Now you are in the elephant heaven!!

5 years ago

I'm very sad about you Dhara. I know that you will come to the best of the worlds. I love you, Dhara*

I want to say ''Thank you'' to all people who tried to help her and were near with her when she died.
You are very kind and strong.


5 years ago

It breaks my heart that Dhara didn't make it, but you all did your best as alway's. She will stay with me for quite a while and I know she was loved alot by the team.

5 years ago

I am so sorry for the departure of Dhara , this is so sad, so many Elephants are in Peril and they are so very important , just as little Dhara. Bless this little one G-d and keep her close to you. i will light a candle in her honor====Peace

5 years ago

Sorry the little lady didn't make it. It would have been a great accomplishment had she survived. I would have loved to see her get back into the wild.

Take care,

5 years ago

Thank you to everyone that helped Dhara. I am saddened to hear of her passing.

5 years ago

My heart is broken for this sweet animal----may she rest in peace and be loved and cherished at "Rainbow Bridge." No more pain, sweet angel. My heart goes out and sends many thanks, to everyone for all you tried to do to help pull her through. I am so very sad---PLEASE rest in peace little one. You were loved and will be terribly missed~~~

5 years ago

Dhara: We all thank God that we had you with us, even for a short time. I am so sorry to hear that you died, but you are at peace now and in a better place. We are so grateful for the team that helped you. You fight on earth is over, and we send you our love. We will always remember you. oxoxoxox Linda K. Crouch

5 years ago

Very sad news indeed. I gave money to support Dhara and every penny was definitely worth it. Thank you for trying and well done. Peace and love, Craig.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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