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

I am heartened by the kind and quality of the care you were able to provide Dhara and am honored to have helped. Yet YOU are performing the timely work that is necessary to rehabilitate animals that get caught in the crossfire of human conflicts or have been victimized by nature's eruptions. Your rescue center provides an indispensable lifeline and I want to thank you for keeping it - as well as your many charges - alive. It seems to me that Dhara had the best possible time of it. It is tragic that she couldn't survive. Yet she knew comfort and caring - which made a tremendous difference in the quality of the life she had.

5 years ago

J ai vu un reportage tv hier et j'ai été profondement indignée et écoeurée de la façon dont les braconniers assassinent les elephants,y compris d etrès jeune séléphanteaux dont les défenses sont naissantes, dans un but mercantile,c est revoltant et je souhaite de tout coeur que l'on parvienne à faire cesser ce commerce indigne,ce ne sont pas des hommes mais des brutes,des gangsters sans morale
j'admire IFAW pour toutes leurs actions, tous personnels confondus, si j'avais connu cette association etant jeune, je me serais investie et aurais volontiers travaillé en Afrique avec eux.
La seule façon d e les aider étant âgée, est de leur venir en aide financièrement, malgré mes petits moyens, je le ferais avec enthousiasme pour participer a sauvetage de ces beaux élephants qui sont une de nos richesses et nous font toujours rêver

5 years ago

I'm so sorry for the loss of this beautiful little elephant. God Bless Dhara and animals everywhere. God Bless the wonderful people that are working to save these animals. You are truly special! Jackie B

5 years ago

C est tres triste d apprendre que Dhara s en est allee .ce qui reconforte c est qu elle a eu plein d amour et d attention elle n etait pas seule pour mourir .BRAVO et merci pour tout ce que vous faites pour les animaux en peril cela est tellement important.

5 years ago

I don't know what kind of paradise is for elephants, but Dhara, be free and happy there!

5 years ago

Quelle tristesse que cette adorable Dhara soit partie. J'aurais tellement aimé qu'elle s'en sorte. Quelle repose en paix au paradis des éléphants.

5 years ago

I am so very sorry and quite saddened to hear of Dhara's death. I truly hoped she would make it thru after all the difficulty she had in her very short life. I can hardly imagine the terror she felt during the flooding and then losing not only her herd, but her mother too.

She was a brave little girl and will never be forgotten

5 years ago

c est avec beaucoup de tristesse que j apprend le décés de Dhara je sais que vous avez mis tout en oeuvre pour la sauver ,la vie en a décidée autrement ,je suis triste ce soir ,je vais penser souvent a elle merci a vous tous qui donner tellement de votre temps et a nous qui vous aidons en fonction de nos revenus car même de petites sommes sont toujours les bienvenues on aimerait pouvoir faire mieux mais ne dit on pas que les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières au revoir petite Dhara
Carmen 26

5 years ago

I'm so sad to hear that Dhara didn't make it, but I'm glad she had the best kind of care her last days.

5 years ago

Merci de vous être battu pour elle et de nous avoir tenu informés de la suite.sincères pensées pour Dhara.

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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.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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