Bangladeshi residents gather around the body of an elephant swept into the country from India by floodwaters in Jamalpur on August 16, 2016.
An elephant that travelled at least 1,000 miles from India into Bangladesh after becoming separated from his herd by flood waters has died from a heart attack despite desperate efforts to save his life. The distressed animal named ‘Bangabahadur,’ loosely translated to mean ‘the Hero of Bengal,’ was swept into the floodwaters caused by the heavy downpours which have flooded large parts of eastern India since the monsoon season began in June. The fully-grown male weighing about four tonnes was given large amounts of saline to help him recover, but the animal was found to be too exhausted.
Wildlife inspector Asim Mallik said the elephant died failing to withstand excessive temperature around 6:30 am on 16 August. But the locals alleged that the elephant might have died due to overdose of the tranquilizer, which was administered to it by special guns four times on Sunday.
The animals are critically endangered in Bangladesh. According to the charity EleAid, there are as few as 196 elephants in the wild there, due to habitat loss and food scarcity. The country has about 100 in captivity. By contrast, in India, there are about 24,000 wild elephants and 3,500 in captivity.
Floods force thousand of animals to move to higher ground every year in the border areas between the two countries. The shrinking natural habitat of wildlife animals has made it increasingly difficult for them to move to safer areas during monsoon floods.