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Abandoned baby elephant rescued from forest - 12-day-old calf may have fallen off a hill in Ghatshila, being treated at Tata zoo

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By KUMUD JENAMANI in Jamshedpur
  • Published 30.09.09
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Veterinary doctor Manik Palit examines the injured calf at Tata Steel Zoological Park in Jamshedpur. (Srinivas)

Jamshedpur, Sept. 29: A 12-day-old baby elephant, that was rescued from a forest in Ghatshila after it got separated from its herd, is now being treated at the Tata Steel Zoological Park’s nursery here.

Forest department officials suspect the calf was hurt when it accidentally skidded off a hill near the near Rajabasa forest in Ghatshila near the Bengal border on Sunday afternoon.

The baby elephant was part of a herd of 12 tuskers and was on way to West Midnapore in Bengal from Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary when it got separated. It sustained injuries on the forehead, legs and parts of the upper abdomen.

Villagers rescued the calf and informed the local forest beat officer. Later, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Dhalbhum A.T. Mishra reached the spot and brought it in a pick-up van to Jamshedpur.

He said though the calf was out of danger, it was still uncertain whether it would survive as it was living on breast milk. As a result, forest department officials and animal keepers at the zoo were finding it difficult to feed it.

“We are trying to feed bottled milk to the calf. It is now able to drink water on its own, but is still very weak, probably due to the injuries. If its condition remains stable for five days, it may survive,” Mishra said.

Senior forest officials from Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary visited the zoo today to see the baby elephant.

The DFO added that though veterinary doctor Manit Palit was looking after the calf at the zoo, they had also contacted the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) that has the expertise to treat baby elephants.

“Palit is trying his best to cure the injured animal, but as he does not have experience of treating a calf, we have also sought help from the WTI. In fact, WTI officials from New Delhi are monitoring the treatment,” Mishra said.

Palit said there was marginal improvement in the calf’s condition. “It is not only injured, but also shocked. It will take sometime for the calf to recover from the shock,” said the doctor.

On how the baby elephant was rescued from Rajabasa forest, Mishra said the herd was in the jungle for three days. After the elephants moved towards West Midnapore, the villagers went to the spot and found the injured calf.

“It is still a mystery why the herd left behind an injured member. It seems that the calf was very weak since birth and failed to withstand the adverse conditions baby elephants usually have to put up with. May be that’s why the elders left it behind after it fell down and got hurt,” the DFO added.