Death of elephant in Mumbai: Post-mortem reveals stones, liver damage

The elephant, Roopa, died possibly due to multiple stones that caused a liver failure.

Written by Rohit Alok | Mumbai | Published:October 24, 2016 2:32 am

The stones found in the bile duct of the 38-year-old elephant who died at Film City on Friday evening where she was taken for a shoot were nearly the size of a tennis ball each. While 15 stones in her liver were all one-and-half inch in diameter, said forensic experts who examined the deceased animal.

The elephant, Roopa, died possibly due to multiple stones that caused a liver failure. Roopa walked from Dahisar to Goregaon and then collapsed and died before the photoshoot could even begin.

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“Roopa had multiple stones. It could have possibly been from drinking less water or dietary changes. There were signs of swelling that could have resulted due to her internal systems failing. Prima facie it seems she could have had the stones for at least two months,” said a doctor who conducted the post-mortem of the animal at a facility in Vasai’s Naigaon area.

Shailesh Pethe, a veterinarian with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, said the stones lead to liver failure and and toxemia, a condition where the liver was unable to to filter and eliminate toxins in the blood. Laboratory reports of Roopa’s samples which were sent for analysis are expected by October 25.

Meanwhile, the elephant’s owner, Saba Pandey is facing an enquiry whether he ill treated Roopa. N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, said that while the final autopsy is awaited which will determine whether Roopa’s death was due to natural causes or human negligence forest officials are probing the licenses sought by Pandey. “The elephant was protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. We are verifying if there were any violations under the rules of the act by Pandey,” Vasudevan said.

Col J C Khanna, secretary of Bombay Society for Prevention to Cruelty of Animals, said it was likely that Roopa died mainly due to poor management and lack of veterinary cover. “You could see from the photos taken the number of patches on Roopa’s body that indicate her poor health,” Khanna said, adding that the correct diet for such an animal could cost Rs 1,000-2,000 a month, sometimes not affordable for their minders or owners.

A preliminary probe on the owner Pandey reveals that of the six privately owned elephants in the city, three belong to Pandey. Khanna said that about eight years ago, one of Pandey’s elephants died after a water tanker crashed into her and broke her pelvic bone.