Global Vets’ volunteers, Ryan and Emily, are putting their veterinary skills to good use as they help a newborn elephant in their latest update from Thailand.
Hi Earth Rangers!
I’m writing to you from the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. So much has happened since we arrived here. The most exciting thing though has to be the arrival of a brand new baby elephant. And when I say brand new, I mean he was only 10 hours old when he got here!
It started out as a regular day, and Ryan and I were just starting our daily treatments on the adult elephants when we were told a new baby had arrived. We rushed over to help and couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw how small he was. A few of the staff got a call in the night saying the baby had been born and the mother had rejected him. These elephants belong to a trekking company, where they are made to carry tourists around. The staff drove through the night, came upon him cold and blue, and brought him back to our sanctuary in the truck. We immediately got to work to get him stable, listening to his heart, watching his breath, and taking his temperature. Ryan and I kept him walking all morning to encourage him to use his lungs and get more oxygen into his body. His colour began to look normal and he was able to keep his balance better as the morning went on.
Over the last week, Ryan and I have been in charge of organizing volunteers to help him around the clock. He needs feeding, he needs help getting up and down for sleep, he needs his umbilical cleaned and eyes treated, and he needs a lot of love. We are incredibly tired. Caring for the little guy night and day as well as getting our other treatments done on the big elephants is exhausting. But I wouldn’t have it any other way and I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such a fragile little creature.
The baby’s mother has also been brought to the sanctuary but isn’t showing any signs of wanting her baby back. For now, its up to us to make sure he gets enough milk as we are feeding him with a bottle. He has a long road ahead of him, especially if he has to continue on without his mother. We hope that both mom and baby can stay at the Elephant Nature Park rather than return to the trekking camp. And we really hope that once we leave, the baby continues to gain weight and improve. It will be hard to leave him, but I know he is in good hands here at the sanctuary. Soon we will leave Thailand and make our way to Cambodia for our next project. We will be working with Marine Conservation Cambodia, diving and helping with their reef research. Much of their research is on seahorses. We will be able to put our new scuba skills to good use, since we took our diving course when we first arrived in Thailand. I’m so excited to be back in the ocean and to explore a new country!