The Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad has lost two animals, an 83-year-Old female Asiatic elephant, Rani and a 21-year-old male leopard due to age-related ailments. Elephant Rani was an iconic star and well known for participating in Bonalu and Muharram festivities for a long time. Rani was one of the oldest elephants in captivity, born on October 7, 1938. The body of the tusker was shifted from the Public Gardens, Nampally where the zoo had been housed earlier, in the year 1963. According to the Zoo officials, Rani had been suffering from old age-related complications and was under the supervision of Zoo veterinary team. The Veterinary doctors had been giving special supplements to improve her health.
Rani was gifted to the zoo by the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, in 1963 and was considered to be the third-oldest Asiatic elephant in the world. The demise of the iconic Rani has distressed many, especially those from the Shia Muslim community who expressed their grief through microblogging sites at the passing of the elephant. Shia Muslims considered Rani to be the symbol of Imam Hussain during the procession in the city on the day of Muharram, Deccan Chronicle reported.
Due to her deteriorated health condition and suffering from arthritis, the zoo officials have built an earthen mound that allowed her to lean back and take a rest.
In July 2020, Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Foundation & Apollo Life, who is also the daughter-in-law of Tollywood actors Ram Charan and Chiranjeevi, had volunteered to adopt Rani for a year, The News Minute reported.
While Rani was known as the third oldest Asiatic tusker, two elephants named Chengallor Dakshayani (female, 88-year-old) from Travancore Devaswom board and Lin Wang (male, 86-years-old) from Taipei Zoo died at the age of 86 in 2003. Asiatic elephants are known to reach adulthood at 17 years of age, therefore the average elephant life expectancy is 60 years in the wild and 80 years in captivity.
As Rani has passed away, the Nehru Zoological Park zoo authorities are now left with only four Asiatic elephants which include three females and one male. The zoo authorities celebrate Rani’s birthday every year with great enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old leopard Ayyappa also passed away due to age-related ailments, including multiple organ failure. He was born on June 16, 2000. The average lifespan of a leopard is 12-17 years. However, Ayyappa has crossed a lifespan of 15 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity for leopards.
The zoo authorities were aghast at the passing of these beloved animals.