Elephane ‘Samrat’ who had been attracting hordes of visitors at the Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park also known as Birsa Jaivik Udyaan for the last 21 years breathed his last on Thursday afternoon. According to the zoo officials, the elephant died because of acute viral infection which led to cardio respiratory failure.
“Prima facie, it appears that he had acute viral infection which caused widespread internal hemorrhage in all the vital organs including heart, lungs and liver. Professor Dr Gupta who conducted the post mortem is of the opinion that the death of the elephant is due to cardio respiratory failure as a result of suspected per acute viral infection causing widespread hemorrhagic changes in vital organs,” said Director of Birsa Zoological Park, D. Venkateshwarlu.
Samples collected from the post mortem have been sent to the laboratories for further tests to confirm the cause of the mammals’ death. The tests will be conducted at the labs located in Bhopal, Guwahati and at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar in Uttar Pradesh.
The incident occurred at around 1:30 pm on Thursday. The elephant had a hearty meal the previous evening but on the morning of March 12, he seemed quite restless. The zoo doctors administered an injection for colic at about 11 am.
“After the medication was injected, he must have had instant relief from the pain. ‘Samrat’ was also seen enjoying a bath a little while later which looked quite normal for him. Due to internal hemorrhage, nothing was visible on the outside and this is a very unfortunate incident for the Ranchi zoo,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, a veterinary doctor at the zoo
As per the authorities this is a type of emerging disease which generally affects just elephants. This infection is very common in elephants and last year six elephants died at the Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhubaneswar within a span of about 20 days.
‘Samrat’ was found abandoned in the jungles of Chaibasa by the then forest officials and was brought to Birsa Zoological Park in the 1998 when he was just three months old. According to the zoo authorities, he was rejected by his mother upon birth.
“When the elephant had first come to the Ranchi zoo, he was suffering from severe umbilical hernia for which he also underwent an operation at the Ranchi Veterinary College. He led an absolutely healthy life for 21 years, but unfortunately he caught the infection at his prime age,” added the zoo vet.
Presently, the Ranchi zoo has just one female elephant ‘Lucky’ left. The zoo has taken preventive measures to protect her as the elephants lived in the same enclosure. Sanitization of the entire enclosed space with anti viral spray along with some dietary changes to increase immunity has been administered.