Elephant Arjuna, known for Mysuru Dasara procession, dies in wild tusker attack

Elephant Arjuna, which became a darling of locals by carrying the howdah during the famous Mysuru Dasara procession eight times, died on Monday after being attacked by a wild tusker in Hassan district, reports said. Arjuna was 63.

Arjuna was being used by the Karnataka Forest Department for an operation to catch rogue wild elephants when the face-off reportedly happened. The wild tusker attacked Arjuna during an operation near Yeslur in Sakaleshpur, The Hindu said in a report. 

The objective of the Forest Department was to capture the troublesome wild elephants roaming the Sakaleshpur, Alur, Belur and Yeslur ranges of Hassan. However, the operaton stands called off followung Arjuna’s death, the daily said.

Arjuna suffered grievous injuries to the stomach in the clash that occurred in the morning and breathed his last in the afternoon, the daily added. 

Arjuna carried the howdah a total of eight times until 2019. The jumbo was relieved of the duty that year considering his age.  According to local media reports, it is the lead elephant that gets to carry the prestigious howdah (also called Amabari) during the processions.

Although it was in the second decade of the 21st century that Arjuna started carrying the howdah, the elephant became part of the Mysuru Dasara procession in the 1990s, Udayavani said in a report.