Heartbreaking footage of an elephant living in captivity has revealed its agonising final hours.
WARNING: DISTRESSING FOOTAGE
Laxmi, a 30-year-old elephant living in captivity in India, was beaten and starved to death by her owners, having been poached from the wild as a calf and separated from both her mother and her herd.
Having been a victim of the illegal elephant trafficking industry, Laxmi had been chained up and tortured for years - with years of abuse and malnourishment leaving her body weak and fragile.
Her bones had grown brittle, and skin sagged over her bony frame. In the video you can also see that her legs had also caved inwards, as Laxmi was no longer able to support the weight of her own body.
Her owners reportedly attacked her with shark spears, bull-hooks and sticks to force her to move.
Following Laxmi's tragic death, her body was laid chained and shackled in Motihari, Bihar, surrounded by urine and dung that hadn't been cleaned up for months.
Her captors had apparently fled, leaving a dying Laxmi to live out her final agonising hours lying in her own filth.
Animal welfare organisation Wildlife SOS informed the Forest Department about what had happened, but when a team of forest officers arrived, the owners had already disappeared.
Kartick Satyanaryan said: "We were extremely alarmed to learn of her condition, and we scrambled to get our elephant veterinarian on a plane to Bihar to try and save Laxmi.
"But she'd finally given in to the agony and passed away. Wildlife SOS is determined to bring justice to Laxmi and all those elephants suffering such atrocities."
Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar added: "Though she had been relatively young, Laxmi was weak and her bones already brittle. The local veterinarians ascribed it to a degenerative skeletal or metabolic disorder, likely the result of extreme malnourishment.
Sadly, the cruelty and neglect that cost Laxmi her life is not uncommon for privately owned captive elephants in India.
Founder of Wildlife SOS, Geeta Seshamani said: "It breaks our hearts to know we could not reach Laxmi in time, but we believe that she deserves justice even if she never saw a single day of freedom.
"Such illegal trafficking, neglect, and severe abuse of elephants is intolerable, and a precedent must be set."Featured Image Credit: SWNS