World's oldest living elephant ''Vatsala'' of Panna Tiger Reserve, MP, India!! - now blind

now blind oldest  female elephant ''Vatsala'', MP,

Whenever we go to the  Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu and, in particular Kerala, it is a great sight to see majestic elephants swaying in their standing position, flapping their long ears and obeying their mahouts. They gently bless the devotees and diligently collect coins or a bill (currency note) with their  multi-purpose trunk and hand it over to their master. When they get a skinned coconut, they break the shell as a  road roller would crush a hardened clay ball!!  Their  obeying  the master  is reminiscent of a Jennie obeying its  master in the fairly tales. When such  powerful animals catch up with age and become less active and lose all its vigor and is stuck to a restricted space it is sight that no body can entertain. If a female elephant, once active, now has become pretty old and grumpy with no teeth to crush food, severe arthritis and blind in both eyes imagine her daily painful survival.  This is exactly the case of a grand old female elephant in the Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh in India.

oldest elephant, Vatsala

Above image; Oldest female elephant  90 to 100 year old Vatsala, Panna  Tiger Sanctuary,  MP is  already wilting under advanced age. 'Oh, my knees are bothering me'...........

90 to 100 year old female elephant, MP, India.

 Vatsala, perhaps the oldest surviving elephant in the world, having been active in her life as a  sort of  a nurse-midwife to pregnant elephants for three decades, is like an age old govt. pensioner, counting her days or months  and trusting others to help her out. Now,  she is lucky and is being nursed by her grand kids! Surprised?

 ageing elephant

This  90 to 100 years old animal  is being well taken care of by  the herd, that  she took care of when she was young and energetic, according to  reserve officials. May we conclude it is a humble way to convey  gratitude  to  their grandma?  Such expression of love and care is fast disappearing among us.  We, the humans, have to take a cue from these young herd of  grateful elephants  who are gentle to the helpless old elephant. It is quite natural  Vatsala gets grouchy when her arthritis flares up and gives her pain. Dr. Sanjeev Gupta of the Panna Tiger Reserve,  said, ‘She is kind with the calves but is the first to give them a ticking off when they over-step the mark.’

The gentle giant came  to MP from Kerala state. when she was around 50 in 1971. She had already lost her teeth; it meant she had reached 50 years of age then.  The average life span of an Asian elephant is  40 to 50 years.  This kind of longevity among the elephants is the rarest case!! Vatsala  was transmigrated  from Hasingbad in 1993  to this sanctuary  and given the task of Parturition (process of giving birth) of pregnant elephants  as a midwife and  caring nurse.  When the babies were 2 years old, she helped them in the waning.  Now, her age must be between 90 and 100 and when she was 86  she held the  the world record - the oldest pachyderm in the world!!  Owing to her age and lack of teeth, Vatsala  has been spending her  retirement being pampered by the care-takers who give her chopped grass and bamboo. Surprisingly, she has the traits of old ladies  who love sweet. The female elephant enjoys   sugar cane juice most.

ageing eleohant.

Recently in Feb. 2020, this old female elephant became blind due to age factor. According to Dr. Sanjiv Gupta, Reserve's Vet,   ....''her blindness is caused by incurable cataract and her digestive system too has collapsed, forcing us to keep her in the sickbay,”  The herd of young elephants taking care of their ‘daadi’ (granny), include Bapu, born in 2017; Manya , born in 2011; Prahlad (2012), and others and Vatsala, through their touch  identifies them. Surely, she is not only the pride of Panna Tiger Reserve, but also of India.