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Hand-raising Orphan Asian Elephants

A Practical Guidebook

For Asian Elephant

Range Country Care Providers

Home: Welcome
Home: Headliner

Why we developed this guidebook 

How elephant calves become orphans 

There are many reasons that elephant calves become orphans. Accidents or natural disasters such as flooding may result in the death of the mother. Weak calves may become separated from the herd or may be abandoned. Calves may fall into wells, ditches, or canals, or become entangled in a snare. (Read more in Chapter 1).


Elephant calf mortality 

What is reported in literature (needs editing)


Why this manual is needed 

Hand-raising orphan elephants is challenging, especially if they have been injured. Even facilities with experience are not always successful. To date there is no comprehensive resource to provide practical and science-based information on how to care for orphan elephant calves.


We have created a practical guide for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, mahouts, caregivers, and anyone else involved with elephant hand-rearing. Because we hope to reach a broad audience, we have tried to use clear and succinct language and have defined medical terms that may not be familiar to all. 


We welcome feedback and will update this Guidebook as new information becomes available. 

Contributors & Reviewers

Dr. Susan K. Mikota - Veterinarian

Director of Veterinary Programs and Research, Elephant Care International

(Read more)

Dr. Willem Schaftenaar - Veterinarian

Veterinary advisor to the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (Europe) 

(Read more)

Dr. B. Vijitha Perera - Veterinarian

Elephant Transit Home, Sri Lanka

Dr. Ellen Dierenfeld

Member, American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Nutrition Advisory Group and President, Comparative Nutrition Society  (Read more)

Production & Fundraising Support


Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund 

Founder/Director, Work for Wild Life International (Read more)

Funding Generously Provided By


Dr. Betsy Coville - Veterinarian

Coville-Triest Family Foundation


Topics in this guidebook

This guide includes 12 chapters, other resources, and appendices, and acknowledgments..

Click on images below to access content.

Chapter 1:
First Encounter

8. Collapsed elephant cow from jaw bomb.jpg

Chapter 2:
Physical Examination & 
Preventive Healthcare

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Chapter 3:
The Nursery Area

Home: Testimonials

Chapter 7:
Growth & Development

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Chapter 8:
Social Needs & Behavior

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Chapter 9:
Medical Problems & Treatment

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Chapter 10:
Medical Procedures

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Other Resources

Chapter 11:
Training for Veterinary Procedures

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Chapter 12:
Guidelines for Release to the Wild



Have a question about
baby elephants?
Need some help?
Have a case study to share?

 We'll be back in touch soon.

Chapter 4:
Feeding Milk

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Chapter 5:
Digestive Physiology / Gut Flora

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Chapter 6:
Feeding / Introducing Solid Foods

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Susan Mikota DVM

Elephant Care International

166 Limo View Lane

Hohenwald, TN 38462


Telephone (USA):  931 - 628-1979 or 931-3

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