Anyone who’d ever seen Maheshakya in the wildernesses of Kebithigollewa in Sri Lanka’s North Central province agreed that, as elephants went, he was an exemplary specimen with large tusks. Earlier this year, he got into a fight with another elephant, which left Maheshakya seriously wounded. As he lay in pain, still alive and conscious, a poacher cut off one of his tusks. Twenty days later, Maheshakya was dead.
In the time since Maheshakya had suffered his injuries during the fight, veterinarians from the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) were able to check on him just twice. Before this year, Maheshakya would have received many more visits, possibly preventing the loss of his tusk and subsequent death. But Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis, the worst in the country’s history, meant that was not to be.