Devotees plunged into a deep sense of gloom as the ailing elephant belonging to Bhavani Sangameshwarar Vedanayagiamman temple in Erode district died early on Friday.
A few years ago, the elephant developed diabetes and fell ill. “Thereafter, Vedanayagi couldn’t stand and walk normally due to the wounds on its limbs. It also didn’t participate in the elephant rejuvenation camp over the last two years. Owing to its poor health, the elephant was also fed with a special nutritious diet in the temple itself,” said an HR & CE official.
The condition of the elephant turned worse over the past ten days and it remained completely exhausted. On Thursday, an animal activist filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court alleging that the elephant was not given adequate care by the temple authorities. He also sought a direction from the court to shift the animal to Mudumalai Elephant camp for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile a 30-member team of veterinary experts arrived on Thursday to examine Vedanayagi and commenced treatment for its recovery. However, the animal died without responding to the treatment around 5.10am on Friday.
As the news of its death spread, a large number of devotees gathered in the temple grieving for the animal. The body of the elephant was also taken in a procession in a lorry through the streets near the temple. A post-mortem was performed by the veterinarians and the animal was buried in a pit after the final rites.