The female tusker was a temple elephant belonging to Chengalloor Mahadeva Temple managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board. It was formally owned by the royal family of Travancore that had obtained the animal when it was just five years old.
The “grandmother” among elephants and oldest living Asian elephant, 88-year-old Dakshayani, died in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Tuesday according to a report in the newspaper The Hindu. She died after collapsing in the shelter where she was housed.
Dakshayani was accorded the title Gaja Muthassi meaning “grandmother of elephants” in July 2016 because she had witnessed many generations of tuskers growing up before her. The ceremony accompanying the award was conducted with great fanfare. The Government of India even released a special postal cover to mark the occasion.
As per veterinary surgeon T Rajeev, Dakshayani had no major ailment and did not suffer from a lack of appetite before she died. She was administered a diet of carrots and pineapples to boost her metabolism though. Rajeev had been supervising the tusker’s health for 10 years.