World’s Oldest Elephant Dakshayani Is A Kerala Temple’s Pride

The 85-year old Elephant has been living in captivity and is cared for by the Travancore Devaswom Board.

2 min read
The 85-year-old Dakhshayani was a gift from the royal family of Travancore to Travancore Devaswom Board. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)

The Asian elephants have an average lifespan of 48-50 years. However, Chenkalloor Dakshayani, the 85-year-old female elephant owned by Travancore Devaswom Board seems to be defying the odds.

According to the New Indian Express report, Dakshayani is one of the oldest surviving elephants on Earth. Her keepers testify that she is a calm elephant who has never attacked anyone.

According to the Guinness Records, the oldest elephant on Earth ever was Lin Wang of Taiwan Zoo that died aged 86 in 2003.

Dakshayani Was Gifted by Erstwhile Royals to TDB

Dakshayani elephant. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href=";theater">E4 Elephant</a>)
Dakshayani elephant. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/E4 Elephant)

The records at Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) say Dakshayani was donated to the Thiruvarattu Kavu at Attingal by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore when she was five or six years old. The elephant is quite healthy and still participates in rituals held during the temple festival.

The certificate issued by the State Forest Department says she was 76 as on 18 July 2007. We do not know the exact age at which she was gifted by the royals.
Subramanian Namboodiri, Sub-Group officer, Chenkalloor, TDB

The caretakers of Dakshayani say that she is a polite, gentle and lovable beast.

Female jumbos are less ferocious than their male counterparts and Dakshayani is a gem among them. She is very obedient and friendly to mahouts and public.
Rajesh, Senior Mahout

Captive Elephants Live Longer, Say Experts

Dr T Rajeev, veterinarian looking after Dakshayani for the past six years, certifies that she is in good health. According to Rajeev, Dakshayani has a strong dislike for hypodermic needles.

She will not allow me to administer injections to her. Whenever I visit her, she would look whether I carry a syringe. If a syringe or needle is spotted she gets agitated
T Rajeev, Veterinarian

Elephant expert and assistant professor at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Dr Arun Zachariah opined that captive elephants live longer than wild pachyderms.

A female captive elephant with the State Forest Department in Wayanad had lived 80 years. But 85, if true, is surprising.
Arun Zachariah, Asst professor, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Guinness officials said that they could consider Dakshayani for the record of the oldest living elephant in captivity.

We do not have a record of oldest elephant living in captivity. We are happy to consider this record if an application is submitted on behalf of the elephant.
Melissa Lee, Public Relations, Guinness Records

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