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

Superzielig! Geen woorden voor :( Rust in vrede <3

5 years ago

Ich bin sehr traurig.
Alles Gute kleines Elefantenmädchen - im Elefantenhimmel geht es Dir hoffentlich richtig gut.


5 years ago

I love Dhara, I know she has set an example for our world to move into love and respect to all animals. May her light shine even more bright on our world as a reminder of how each being has so much live to give. :( you are loved!

5 years ago

toute mes condoléance je suis désoler pour l'éléphant
j'esperd sinsérement que tout le monde pouras prendre connaissance de site car il est superd je compte m'y inscrire dés que possible car je trouve la cause animal vraivent bien car nous les aidons à survivre .
j'ésperd que tout le monde pense comme moi meme si je sais que ce n'est pas tout a fait vrai
enrevvoir et encore désoler pour l'éléphant

5 years ago

Wat ontzettend jammer en triest dat alle hulp en inspanning niet heeft mogen baten
voor Dhara. Hetzelfde overkwam Bo Gy hier in de Dierentuin in Emmen.
Men heeft alles gedaan om haar te helpen maar ook dat mocht helaas niet baten. Dat zijn de trieste dingen die óók voorkomen. Maar we mogen beide olifantjes gedenken met de wetenschap dat we al het mogelijke hebben gedaan.
Hartelijke groet
Herma Harms

5 years ago

Ob etwas wirklich richtig war zeigt nicht der gewollte, gewünschte oder menschlicherseits erhoffte Erfolg. Jedes Handeln für andere ist sinnvoll.. immer..!!! Und darum einfach weitermachen, immer weitermachen und weitermachen... Das allein ist sinnvoll und braucht keine Rechtfertigung...
In ganz liebem Gedenken an Dich, Dhara... Es ist schön daß es Dich gibt und die Menschen in Deiner Nähe Dich bis zuletzt begleiten durften...Du hast nur die Form gewechselt... Viel Liebe auf Deinem weiteren spannenden und hoffentlich freudigen Weg...
von Marianne

5 years ago

Dhara touched many lives & she will be remembered for her brave heart & her will to live. We realize that life isn't a permanent state but I want to thank all the doctors & workers for being by her side & making her last weeks as comfortable as possible. God bless your efforts & all the animals.

5 years ago

desoler et toute mes condeléances

5 years ago

Ach al dat gefrunnik om de doodsoorzaak vast te stellen kost alleen maar geld, wat beter is te besteden. Het is toch niet meer terug te draaien,
Wel ben ik dankbaar dat in onze wereld van veel kwaad en onverschilligheid ten opzichte van andere levens, er mensen zijn die zich inzetten om het leed te verzachten.
Ik heb een diep respect voor dieren en een grote walging ten opzichte van dierenbeulen..
Als kind verlangde ik al naar een toverstafje waarmee ik alle slechte mensen kon veranderen in steen.
Gelukkig heeft het olifantje nog troost gevonden bij jullie.
Martine van Dam

5 years ago

Armes Elefantenbaby!

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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