Days after capture, ‘Laden’ dies of cardiac arrest | Guwahati News

GUWAHATI: “Laden”, the wild elephant that had killed five people in Assam’s Goalpara district before being tranquillised and captured seven days ago in an operation led by an MLA, died on Sunday at a rehabilitation centre in Orang National Park.
“The preliminary findings indicate the elephant suffered a cardiac arrest. The detailed post-mortem report is awaited,” said B V Sandeep, the divisional forest officer of Mangaldoi. “The elephant was under constant observation and had started responding well to the mahouts. It was exhibiting normal behaviour, and had been lightly fed at 4am and 5am on Sunday.”
The male elephant, rechristened “Krishna” in captivity, died around 5.45am. Veterinarian Kushal Kumar Sarma, who conducted the postmortem, said the elephant’s heart was found with “necrotic barriers” (death of cells or tissues from injuries or disease).
“The elephant had a bad heart and was in stress. There were several injuries on its body. Its heart function was already weak and the process of its capture might have precipitated the stress,” Sarma, head of the radiology and surgery department of the College of Veterinary Science in Guwahati, said.
The elephant had been brought to Orang on Wednesday for treatment of “several injuries and festering wounds”. It made the 200km journey atop a truck.
In its avatar as “Laden”, the elephant had roamed the Kanyakuchi reserve forest in Goalpara district till BJP’s Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika joined the forest department’s operation with his retinue of trained elephants on November 11.
Hazarika, whose experience of “handling pachyderms” apparently predates his entry into politics, used his “expertise” to not only track down Laden but also fired the dart that tranquillised the elephant. Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal was among those who had congratulated Hazarika after the operation.
News of the elephant’s death led wildlife activists to demand an explanation from the forest department on why a legislator had to be involved in the operation to capture “Laden” when a team of experts had already been constituted.
The BJP MLA dismissed the suggestion that the tranquilliser had anything to do with the elephant’s death.

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