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Providing Direct Care to Elephants

Everywhere we have worked, we have had an opportunity to help with the care of individual elephants that have touched our hearts. Below are some of their stories. 

Jun's Story ~ Vietnam

This young elephant calf was found wandering alone in the forest, separated from his herd with a gaping hole in his trunk and missing the end of his left front foot. Jun was rescued by the Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) in Buon Don, Vietnam. His life-threatening injuries resulted from a chance encounter with a poacher’s snare, which left a permanent hole in his trunk and permanently severed part of his foot. See slideshow for images.

When rescued, Jun’s left front foot was missing all of the nails and  most of his toe bones; the laceration in his trunk had already healed. Our international team trained ECC veterinarian Dr. Thinh how to properly debride the wound under sedation.

 

When Jun’s external wounds were not healing properly, we suspected that a piece of the snare wire might still be embedded. With help from colleagues in Hanoi who loaned us a portable x-ray machine, ECI research associate Dr. Willem Schaftenaar worked with ECC staff to obtain x-rays of Jun’s foot. The x-rays clearly showed that a piece of snare wire was embedded in the wound. Jun was sedated and surgery was performed to successfully remove the wire.

We also trained Phu, Jun’s caregiver, how to treat the wound on a daily basis. No sedation is necessary for Jun's daily care routine because of Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) provided by behaviorist Erin Ivory. You can see how effective PRT is in the video. Jun receives a treat after he extends his trunk and places his foot properly for treatment. PRT allows elephants to participate in their care voluntarily. This human-elephant bond is essential to Jun's long term care. 

Double click on image above to start slideshow

When more intense treatments are needed and sedation is required, our new digital “Ele-Scale” (donated by ECI) will allow ECC staff to weigh Jun in order to determine his exact weight for accurate drug dosages and growth progress.

Jun will live his life at the ECC. For him, going home to his herd and his forest is not an option.

Learn more about our work in Vietnam 

Saving Gold ~ Vietnam

Gold was only two months old when he was rescued from a well in Vietnam. Two attempts were made to reintroduce Gold to his herd but were unsuccessful. The only choice was for humans to hand-raise this little calf. Watch our heart-warming story about Gold's rescue, prepared by ECI partner Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund

Hand-raising orphan elephants is difficult and often unsuccessful. Gold had bouts of diarrhea and did not easily gain weight early on. We were afraid we would lose him. 

After experimenting with different formulas we finally found the right one and Gold began to thrive.  Elephant Care International donated a portable scale to the Elephant Conservation Center in Vietnam to monitor Gold’s growth (Jun’s too). Like Jun, Gold will require lifelong care.

Learn more about our work in Vietnam 

Double click on image above to start slideshow

Epi ~ Sumatra, Indonesia

Epi is one of many wild elephants that were captured by the Indonesian government because they were entering villages or raiding crops. Elephant Care International co-founders Hank Hammatt and Dr. Susan Mikota lived on the island of Sumatra for three years working to improve the care of these ex-wild elephants. 

Like many other elephants, Epi’s dart site became infected. We knew from other elephants that had died that these dart abscesses could lead to septicemia and death. Every day for over two months we treated Epi’s abscess and administered antibiotics. This treatment likely prevented the infection from going systemic.

 

Special note: Dr. Mikota was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work with Sumatran elephants.

Dart wound elephant in Sumatra
Healed elephant dart wound Sumatra
Pus from dart wound in elephant in Sumatra
Sumatran elephant

(Above left): Epi's infected dart wound. (Above center): Dr. Susan Mikota drains pus from Epi's wound. (Above right): ECI co-founder Hank Hammatt calms Epi during treatment. (Left): Epi's wound healed fully.

Binayak Prasad ~ Nepal

Binayak Prasad is a bull elephant in Nepal. He has a conservation job; he patrols the national parks to thwart poachers. In 2011 we diagnosed him with tuberculosis. We were not sure he would survive, but we had no choice and we treated him for TB. Below left is a photo of Binayak before TB treatment.   On the right is Binayak a few years after completing his TB treatment. He looks great! 

 

ECI has an ongoing TB Control Program in Nepal. Learn more.

Elephant in Nepal before TB treatment
Elephant in Nepal after TB treatment

(Left): At this time Binayak was very thin and in poor condition due to tuberculosis. (Above): This is Binayak a few years after completing his TB treatment. He looks great! 

Ruth ~ USA

"Elephant ‘Trumpets With Relief’ After Week of Constipation" (September 2018)

 

How would you treat an elderly patient with stubborn constipation who can’t tell you what’s working and who, by the way, weighs more than 3 tons? Click to read Ruth's full story.

Rabies Clinic for
Dogs & Cats ~ Nepal

There were no shortage of stray dogs in Sauraha (the village adjacent to Chitwan National Park) when we conducted our Rabies Vaccination Program there. 

 

We made posters and placed them around the village so people would know about our plans. The Street dog management team loaned to use by the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Center were experts at rounding both strays and owned dogs for vaccination. 

Some dogs that were less willing were captured in a cloth net. Cats were never cooperative! 

 

In two days, we vaccinated 210 dogs and cats – both owned and strays. The strays would otherwise have been poisoned by strychnine.

The local people were happy to have their dogs vaccinated. View slideshow (above right).

Two elephants

Double click on image above to start slideshow

Please consider a donation to help us care for more elephants and other needy animals.  DONATE HERE!

Rabies Clinic-Nepal
Binayak Prasad
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