Jorhat, Aug. 19: Forest department personnel managed to reunite a one-year-old elephant calf with its mother this morning after it got separated from the herd at Naharjan tea estate near Kaziranga National Park last night.
Forest officials said the female calf got stuck in a drain inside the tea estate and got separated from the herd. Labourers of the estate informed the forest department when they noticed the calf this morning. “We went to the place with experts from the Wildlife Trust of India-run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) and noticed the calf inside the drain this morning,” a forest official at Kaziranga said.
The team immediately rescued the calf and provided treatment. “The calf was too weak after struggling the whole night to get out of the drain. We provided it with a few doses of energy drink,” CWRC veterinarian Abhijit Bhawal told The Telegraph. He said after about an hour, the calf regained energy and started calling for its mother.
“As our first aim was to locate the herd and reunite the calf with its mother, we walked the calf to the edge of the tea estate near the Karbi Anglong hills,” Bhawal said. After about half an hour, the team of rescuers heard sounds of an approaching herd of elephants, answering the call of the calf. “We immediately left the area leaving the calf behind. We had also smeared elephant dung on the body of the calf before we left,” Bhawal said.
After a few minutes, the team saw the elephants emerging from the forest and guiding the calf back inside it. “The elephant, probably the mother, sniffed the calf for a few minutes and then guided it back to the forest,” he said.
Bhawal said there were instances of elephants rejecting their calves after they (calves) come into contact with human beings. “As such we smeared the calf with elephant dung before we left it behind. It was a lovely moment when we witnessed the calf being accepted by the herd,” the veterinarian said.
The Kaziranga forest official said about a year back, an elephant calf was rejected by its herd after it was smeared with vermilion and mustard oil by villagers in an apparent attempt to worship Ganesh, after it was found abandoned near a village under Hojai forest division in Nagaon district. Forest department personnel tried twice to reunite the calf with the herd but the latter refused to accept it because of the alien odour emanating from its body. The official said the smell of humans combined with that of oil and vermilion had repulsed the herd, resulting in its refusal.
A carcass of a rhino was recovered from the Borbeel area near Kaziranga National Park today. Forest officials said it had died a natural death and the horn had been recovered.