The oldest Asian elephant living in captivity died in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Tuesday, The Hindu reported. The female elephant, named Chengalloor Dakshayani, was 87 years old and fondly referred to as ‘Gaja Muthassi’ (grandmother of elephants). She died after collapsing at her shelter in Pappanamcode.
The Forest Department had officially logged the animal’s age at 76 on August 18, 2007.
Travancore Devaswom Board’s veterinary surgeon T Rajeev said the animal did not suffer any significant ailment or loss of appetite during her last days. Rajeev, who had overseen the elephant’s health regime for around 10 years, said pineapples and carrots had been included in its diet over the past few months to improve metabolism.
The royal family of erstwhile Travancore had got the five-year-old animal from the Konni elephant camp. It was later handed over to the Chengalloor Mahadeva Temple. The Devaswom Board had formally given the title of “Gaja Muthassi” to the elephant in July 2016, and India Post had even released a special postal cover to commemorate the occasion.
The animal was a popular presence in temple processions and at the “Arattu” ritual of the Padmanabhaswamy temple until three years ago.