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

Rest in peace Dhara. You were obviously too precious for our world.........

5 years ago

So sad Dhara didn,t make it. Well done for trying and we must never give up on these defenceless animals. I admire the dedication of you all! Jean.

5 years ago

Reading about Dhara made me cry, how sad that she didn't win her battle.I so admire the work of IFAW and other very worth while animal charities, all of which I support. Other than paying a few bills for myself, I feel I work in order to give something back to these beautiful creatures that deserve so much more. I feel ashamed of how much suffering is caused because of humans and hopefully my contributions along with others will continue to make a difference. Reading what happens all over the world is heart breaking but when there is a happy outcome every penny donated is so worth while. I am full of admiration for all those who give so much to help, be it monetary or physically. Thank you for being there for these amazing animals and all the hard work you do.

5 years ago

I think Dhara needed to pass away to rejoin animal' s people, my cat is gone too she was in perfect health, Dhara needed an other life, I send her all light to make her free...

5 years ago

Thank you for doing everything you could to save precious Dhara. I can't imagine the heartbreak after losing her since she did seem to be heading towards a road to healing. Although I did not have the amazing opportunity of nuturing & loving Dhara in person I have from afar and her passing has affected me. She will live in my heart as I continue to support each and everyone of you in your journey to helping injured & hopeless animals like Dhara who deserve all the care & love in the world. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

5 years ago

It must be so heart fulfilling and yet heart wrenching for those of you that care for these incredible beings. Thank you from my heart to yours for caring.... I have sent loving prayers for Dhara, she is held in love and light. She is off on another journey and may it be a beautiful one. Namaste`

5 years ago

I am so saddened by Dhara's passing. I know it had to be a great loss for you, as you cared for her so tenderly. I realize it's little comfort now, but in time I know you will all be comforted knowing that you did all you could...and that Dhara is playing in heaven with her family and with all our precious animals who went before her. Thank you so much for helping and loving these wonderful creatures.

David DaMota
5 years ago

I was so sad to read about the passing of Dhara the Elephant. She looked so happy in the pictures. My heart is broken right now. I really thought that she was going to get better. =(
Thank you IFAW, I know you tried your best. I will never forget you Dhara. Please do everything you can for the other sick and injured animals. They need your help to get better.

5 years ago

We are so sorry to hear that Dhara has passed away. So very sad. You tried so very hard to save her but life is held by a gossamer thread. Sending our prayers and best wishes for all you do and thanks for caring for all animals large and small. Marian, Barry and Minnie xxx

5 years ago

Poor baby.

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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
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
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Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
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