In Sri Lanka, ophan baby elephants or elephant claves are not an uncommon finding. Wildlife officers encounter these lonely jumbos most of the time when their mothers have been attacked, trapped, or missed. This baby elephant is also an orphan and was discovered by the wildlife officers when roaming alone in the forest, injured and weak.
An infected wound with oozing pus was on the tail base, in addition to several other injuries. Therefore, this innocent baby must be treated quickly, before the wounds infect too much and spill bacteria into the blood, causing septicemia, which can be fatal in most instances.
Transporting the calf to the treatment and caring facility is not an easy task. As with any wild animal, taming even a baby elephant is not easy. However, given the animal’s situation, the wildlife officers must transport him despite all his resentment.
With limited resources, a challenging path, and non-cooperative jumbo, the wildlife authorities did their best to take this poor fellow to the facility by keeping the stress low as they can.
You might get the question, why haven’t they sedated the little elephant without making him move by force. Practically, if the baby elephant was sedated, it will have to be lifted by foot to the vehicle. However, more importantly, as sedative drugs as very risky to be used in sick and young animals like this little elephant baby, the drug itself can threaten its life. This left these officers with no other option.
Like with loading the baby elephant, unloading is not an easy task. The veterinarian from the background guides people to get down the elephant without harming the elephant or the people.
But the frightened calf is not cooperative at all, and everyone had to put a great effort to get him down from the truck safely without causing injuries to him.
Finally, after a considerable effort, they managed to get the little jumbo out and escorted him to the “ward” for treatment and care. The baby elephants will be kept at these wildlife facilities and treated. If they are orphans, they will be taken care of until they find their mother or transferred to rescue facilities such as the elephant transit home at Udawalawe, Sri Lanka.
Now it’s the essential part – providing proper treatment for the wounds. The deepest wound in the belly, and that was the first to be treated. The wounds are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with povidone-iodine solution. An antibiotic was sprayed to prevent further infection of the wounds.
Now, the first-line treatment is done, and now it’s time to concern about nutrition. The veterinarian is deciding to give milk and see before providing intravenous solutions such as saline and dextrose.
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