One of the world’s oldest elephants has died on an Indian tea farm at an estimated age of 89.
The elephant’s exact age can’t be confirmed, but it’s known that he was brought to work on a tea estate by a British farmer during colonial rule in the 1940s.
Named ‘Bijuli Prasad,’ – in the local style of names – the elephant was taken from the wild as a young calf and worked in India’s eastern state of Assam until 2018.
“Domestic elephants live up to 80 years, provided they are taken care of well,” said elephant veterinarian Kushal Konwar Sarma, who cared for the elephant in his older years.
Bijuli Prasad’s diet had to be changed as his teeth fell out due to old age.
Sarma said: ‘I changed the diet and asked the caretakers to give him boiled food — mostly rice and soybean with a high protein value.’
In his prime, Bijuli Prasad would pull out old tea bushes and clear forested areas with ease.
He then retired to the Behali Tea Estate in Assam, where he died on Monday.
Draped in flowers, Bijuli Prasad was given a funeral with Hindu rituals carried out by a priest and then buried.
In the wild, Asian elephants typically live into their mid-50s, according to the US-based Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
The oldest known elephant died aged 86 in Taiwan in Taipei Zoo in 2003, according to Guinness World Records.