Puducherry, Nov 30 (IANS): A 32-year-old female elephant of Sri Manakula Vinagayar temple collapsed on the road and died on Wednesday. Two mahouts were accompanying the elephant when it went out in the morning.
Temple authorities told IANS that an autopsy of the elephant would reveal the exact cause of death.
The elephant, according to temple authorities, had suffered severe foot root disease. This disease according to veterinarians is common among the captive elephants as they stand for long hours in roads.
DMK leader and former Chief Minister of Puducherry R.V. Janakiraman had donated the elephant to the temple.
Puducherry Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy and Lieutenant Governor, Tamilisai Sounderarajan paid their tributes to Lakshmi.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) raised concern over the sudden collapse and death of the elephant.
PETA had repeatedly requested the Government of Puducherry to shift the elephant to a sanctuary.
The Animal Welfare Board of India also assessed the mental and physical health of the animal in 2015 and raised concerns over its health.
Meanwhile Khushboo Gupta, Director of Advocacy Project, PETA India in a statement said, "PETA India laments the fact that Lakshmi was never allowed to live the life an elephant desires with others of her own kind and free of shackles despite the many pleas made to the temple by caring people to allow her to be rescued."
The statement further said, "She was denied freedom and happiness and forced to endure years of extreme and unbearable loneliness in captivity. Given her sadness, her sudden death sadly comes as no surprise- it means an opportunity for her happiness lost."