Hyderabad: The Nehru Zoological Pak (NZP) here announced on Wednesday that it has lost an 83-year-old Asiatic elephant and a 21-year-old leopard due to senility.
“With profound grief and immense sorrow, the Nehru Zoological Park announces the passing away of the iconic female Asiatic elephant Rani (83) and male leopard Ayyappa (21) due to senility,” the zoo said in a statement.
NZP Curator Subhadra Devi said Rani breathed her last on Tuesday and the post-mortem indicated old age related multiple organ failure as the cause of death.
Born on October 7, 1938, Rani was one of the oldest elephants in captivity. Devi said Rani lived its life to the fullest and took food till last day and left without any major physical suffering.
Normal life expectancy of an Asiatic elephant is 60 years and in captivity it is a little beyond 70.
Among Asiatic elephants, Chengalloor Dakshayani (female, 88 years) owned by the Travancore Devaswom Board, and Lin Wang (male, 86 years) at the Taipei Zoo are believed to be the only other elephants who have outlived Rani.
Rani was transferred from the Bagh-e-Aam (public garden) in Hyderabad to NZP on October 1, 1963 and was a regular feature in Bonalu and Moharram processions in the city for quite some time.
According to the curator, Rani had been suffering from old age related complications and was under regular treatment and supervision of the zoo’s veterinary team.
Supportive medicines and special supplements were given regularly to improve her quality of life.
“Due to arthritis, she was not able to lie down and rest like the other elephants. Therefore, an earthen mound was prepared in its enclosure to facilitate her to lean and take some rest,” Devi said.
Rani was adopted by superstar Chiranjeevi’s daughter-in-law and Apollo Foundation and Apollo Life vice chairperson Upasana Kamineni in July 2020 for a period of one year.
NZP used to celebrate Rani’s birthday every year with great zeal. She used to relish sugarcane, millets, grasses, fruits like banana etc.
She was very polite, cooperative, and a friendly matriarch to the elephant family at the zoo. Her demise has left the zoo officials and staff heartbroken, the curator said.
The zoo officials and staff, in particular the animal keepers of the elephant enclosure, paid floral tributes to Rani and recalled the cherished memories of her being part of the zoo family.
With the demise of Rani, NZP is now left with four Asian elephants (one male and three females).
Meanwhile, the leopard named Ayyappa died on Wednesday due to old age and multiple organ failure. Ayyappa was under the observation of zoo veterinarians at its enclosure. The average lifespan of a leopard is 15 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity.
Born on June 16, 2000, Ayyappa was received by the NZP from the SVZP, Tirupati.