Warning: Distressing Content
A heartbreaking video has emerged of an elephant in India, which was chained up at the Nagarahole National Park, collapsing and dying.
Elephant handlers in the region have accused authorities of neglect, after calls for a vet to treat the adult male elephant went unanswered.
The animal was identified as a 37-year-old male elephant known as Drona. Handlers, known as mahouts, told local press they could see the elephant was unwell, but their appeals for help were either not received or left unanswered.
The footage show men bathing the large elephant, as it tries to stretch the chains that are tied around its front legs.
The four-ton animal then falls to its side. According to officials from the elephant camp, Drona died when he went to drink from a water tank and suddenly collapsed.
The elephant had reportedly been showing signs of illness since Friday, April 26. The first mahout to see Drona said he suspected he died from a heart attack, though vets are yet to carry out an autopsy to determine the true cause. Indian elephants usually live to around 50-years-old.
Footage of the elephant collapsing was captured at the Nagarahole National Park, in the southwestern state of Karanatka, India.
Drona was a well-known elephant in the region, as in 2017 and 2018 he carried the golden howdah, or platform, in religious processions marking the Hindu festival of Dasara, in the city of Mysrur.
The annual celebration sees 15 colourfully decorated elephants from the Nagarahole forest walk the three-mile route through the city for the religious ceremony, as the MailOnline reports.
Earlier this month, an animal rights group won a small but significant victory over handlers who were filmed beating and whipping an elephant.
The footage, which was shared on Twitter, went viral, and showed the handlers mercilessly beating a tied-up elephant with long poles. As the elephant lies down, the men seem to continue beating it.
The attack against the elephant, reportedly named Karnan, took place in the district of Thrissur in the southern Indian state of Kerala three months ago, according to one animal rights group.
Thankfully, the video was picked up by and animal rights NGO in India, who confirmed they were helping bring the animal abusers to justice.
You can watch the footage, which contains distressing scenes, here:
The animal rights group Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VFAES) said on social media:
A case was booked by Thrissur district forest officers. The mahouts were fired. The elephant has been transferred to Palakkad district, and is being monitored closely by the forest department.
The Asian Elephant is listed as endangered by the World Wildlife Fund, with populations of the wild animal declining by at least 50 per cent over the last three generations.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.