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

RIP Dhara

5 years ago

so very sorry to hear dhara's the baby elephant has ended her short life, i know all the team and dr's did their best to save her. also the many contributers who care for animals , the funds collected for dhara;s will help other animals like her to be rehabilitated and nursed back to health, well done for all your care and good work. in looking after these poor animals

regards irene

5 years ago

It was so sad to read about dear Dhara passing away, after so much trauma for her. You are a wonderful organisation, and I only wish I could do more to help. I would love to be there helping. I feel that Dhara's parting from her family must have been her first real stress, but you were all so good to her.

Thank you for caring, and for sharing her story with us.
Jeanne Clapcott

5 years ago

Thank you Ifaw for helping and trying to save sweet Dhara

5 years ago

How sad it is to loose such a precious animal. I would like to thank IFAW for their tremendous work. To everyone who digs deep to help our precious animals I would just like to say thankyou. Jenny

5 years ago

Thank you Fred and all the tireless volunteers who tried so valiantly to save Dhara. Truth is, not all wild creatures survive their calamities, whether it be the orphaned sparrow or a young elephant, at the cusp of life's adventures. But people like you will never give up because now and again, one creature, solely dependent on the aid that comes his way, does make it. I respect your efforts, no matter the outcome!

Thank you!

Vieva Kendig

5 years ago

Caring for Dhara was probably the best experience of my life, getting up in the night wasn't even a chore when it was to feed her. Her trunk would always be searching along the milk bottle trying to get a grip, so that as soon as the milk was finished she could try and claim the bottle as a toy... I'd have to literally throw it out the stable! Then she would immediately calm down and then (one of her cutest habits) she would put her trunk down my welly boot, tickling my feet with her breathing.
I miss Dhara so much and will always remember her. Thank-you to the vets and keepers for doing everything possible.
Lucy x

5 years ago

Thank you for all the work you do.....and how you helped Dhara, sad to hear she passed away..may she R.I.P. now with her family that passed away

5 years ago

My heart has great sadness for this baby. Thanks to all of those who tried to help her and the past and future 'patients'....Stay strong and thanks again - they deserve a chance!

5 years ago

Very very sad. RIP 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.
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