Heartbroken wildlife keepers have told how a beloved elephant was comforted by her family and friends in a touching mourning ritual during her last moments at a sanctuary in Brazil.
Veteran tusker Pocha, 55, had been given her first taste of freedom when she was transferred to the Natural Elephant Sanctuary (SEB) in Mato Grosso, Brazil, just five months ago (May).
Keepers said she arrived at the sanctuary with health problems after a lifetime in captivity.
But her health gradually worsened and led to the stately matriarch’s death on Thursday, 6th October, according to local media reports.
Pocha had travelled 3,300 kilometres with her daughter, Guillerma, 22, to the 1.500-hectare Brazilian sanctuary after they were released from the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina.
SEB officials stated: “When (Pocha) and Guillermina arrived, (Pocha) was a little slower to eat, but after a multivitamin injection, she got better.
“A few days ago, we noticed that she was picky about her hay, although she was still grazing and enjoying all the produce she was given.
“After a vitamin shot last night, she looked brighter and, although she was still tired, she had more light in her eyes.”
Despite this, SEB officials discovered that the beloved tusker passed away later that night.
Pocha was then mourned by her fellow elephants in a heart-touching ceremony.
First, she was comforted by her daughter and a number of elephant companions as she was dying.
Then her clearly distressed daughter Guillerma then let out a loud heartbroken cry which drew more elephants to the scene, according to reports.
SEB officials added: “Once we opened the doors for the other girls to come in, Bambi, Mara and Rana were there waiting to be with Guille.”
The elephants then approached the mother and daughter one by one as they paid their respects to their late companion.
Then the herd watched over Pocha’s body respectfully for a significant period of time, explained the officials.
They added: “Bambi approached, but kept a distance, with his eyes slightly open and looking worried.
“Just after midnight, they all stood on different sides of Pocha, calm and relaxed.”
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Story By: Alice Amelia Thomas, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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