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 have been following Dhara's story and hopeful for her full recovery. This is very sad and disappointing news. Her veterinarians I am sure did everything they could to help her.
She was an inspiration and will be dearly missed. RIP sweet little Dhara.

5 years ago

Liebe Dhara,

sehr viele Menschen wollten dir dazu verhelfen, ein artgerechtes Elefantenleben zu erleben. Leider hast du es nicht geschafft - wahrscheinlich war auch die Trennung von deiner Mama in diesem jungen Elefantenalter durch dieses schreckliche Erlebnis zu viel für dich.
Du bist nun über die Regenbogenbrücke gegangen, die schon viele, viele unserer Haus- und Nutztiere gegangen sind. Sie werden dich in ihrer Mitte aufnehmen und dort wirst du auf viele deiner Artgenossen und Vorfahren treffen. Machs gut kleine Dhara und grüße meine lieben Vierbeiner dort von mir, die schon vorausgegangen sind.

5 years ago

En mémoire à Dhara je continuerai a aider les animaux en difficulté.
Ce n'ai pas un échec comme celui-ci qui doit nous ralentir; d'autres ont besoin de nous.


5 years ago

I'm so saddened by Dhara's passing but thankful for IFAW's attempts to save her. At least she felt loved and cared for in her final days. Laura Hughes, Farmville, NC

5 years ago

Liebe Dhata,
Du wirst immer in den Herzen all derjenigen sein, die das Privileg genossen, Dich, in welcher Art auch immer, kennen gelernt zu haben.
Ich hoffe, der Weg über die Regenbogenbrücke, war für Dich ein weiterer spannender Weg.
Grüße alle, die Dir dort oben begegnen und habt endlich Frieden.

5 years ago

merci pour toutes ces informations, même triste soient elles....
Je suis assistante vétérianaire en Côte D'Or en France, et aussi éducateur canin, et les animaux je les aiment et respecte.
Cette nouvelle m'attriste bien évidemment mais vous qui êtes au coeur de l'action devez être encore plus touché, c'est toujours difficile de perdre un animal alors qu'il nous donnait de l'espoir à s'attacher à la vie. Comme on dit souvent, le plus important malgré tout c'est qu'elle ne souffre plus....
Toute mon amitié.
Courage pour tout ce magnifique travail que vous et vos équipes accomplissez!!!!
Tendre pensée à Dhara♥
Caroline M.

5 years ago

Somehow I trust that the creatures know that some of the 2-leggeds care about them and all the creatures and the earth.
Dhara gave us the opportunity to show just that.
I trust that she left feeling cherished.

5 years ago

Triest,rust zacht Dhara.

5 years ago

Bonjour, très attristée par la mort de Dhara, j'espère qu'elle repose en paix. un grand merci pour tous ceux qui se mobilisent et font de ce monde, un monde meilleur... porter secours aux animaux c'est fantastique, on leur doit bien cela. merci beaucoup. gabrielle botta

5 years ago

My heart sinks to know Dhara left us. But I am thankful that she was cared for and helped before her last breath. Feeling loved surely must have made a difference in her mind and soul. Thank you to all those who served her.

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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
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy