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Injured 80-year-old elephant to be put to sleep

An injured elephant who suffers multiple fractures after an accident a few weeks ago is being prepared to be put to sleep, a news report said Tuesday.

Arundhati, 80, had been ferrying tourists through the Rajaji National Park in the state of Uttarakhand since 1980 and a few weeks ago got stuck in a swamp, The Asian Age newspaper reported.

During rescue efforts the pachyderm suffered multiple fractures on her right leg and "she has not been able to stand since then," park director G.S. Pandey told the newspaper.

A panel of veterinarians tried and failed to help her heal.

"We cannot see her suffering like this and it is better that she is put to sleep," Arundhati's handler Zahoor Khan said, the news report added.

Later in the week the aging elephant will be administered a tranquilizer and then a fatal injection of potassium chloride.

The news report did not explain the delay and officials at the park were not available for comment on Tuesday, which is a national holiday.

India - with 10,000 to 15,000 elephants - has the largest pachyderm population in Asia, but numbers are declining because of loss of habitat and poaching.

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