Chained and tethered, for apparently her entire life, the female Asian elephant affectionately known as Granny, has recently died. (Her official name was Dakshayani; when she entered into her senior elephant years she was honored with the “Gaja Muthassi,” meaning “elephant granny,” designation.)
They say, at the age of 88, she was “the oldest elephant in captivity” but, for an elephant, that was not a distinction of which to be proud. (The previous record holder, named by Guinness, was the Asian elephant, Lin Wang, who served out her life sentence in the Taiwan Zoo until her death at age 86, in 2003)
As the Indian elephant’s health had been failing in her final three years, thankfully, she had not been expected to fulfill the duties of her job, as a temple elephant in Kerala where she lived. Several months before Elephant Granny died her owners had “even moved her to a better tethering place at an elephant farm in Thiruvananthapuram“. Somehow that doesn’t sound much better than the dismal place she left, if she was still kept tethered (a rope around her neck) & bound (by chains).
Though she was fed a more delectable diet in her final years (adding her favorite carrots & pineapples) her decline continued (the elephant’s eyesight & her mobility had greatly diminished.) It was not unexpected as captive elephants should only live an average of “40-plus years“.
On the day Granny, Dakshayani the elephant, passed away (Tuesday, 5 February 2019) she had become “reluctant to eat“.
Her veterinarian, T. Rajeev, explains: “‘At 3pm, a sudden shiver passed through her large frame beginning from the head region. After a few minutes she bent her forelimbs and lay down. And that was it.‘”
It is beyond reprehension that such a majestic animal, another of our Asian elephants, had never been allowed to live as an elephant. When will humans allow themselves to empathize with our elephants?
Resource & for more photos of Granny the Indian elephant see: “Oldest elephant in captivity – nicknamed Granny – dies aged 88 at Indian temple” by Afp at The Daily Mail Online
Image: copyright AFP at The Daily Mail : Granny the elephant worked as a Temple Elephant in Kerala, India