Tuskers saved from death convalesce in Central Highlands sanctuary

By Ngoc Thanh   January 24, 2021 | 08:30 pm GMT+7
Two elephants rescued from a well and a trap are making slow progress at a Central Highlands sanctuary before being released into the wild again.
Gold (L) and Jun are two wild elephants that were rescued five years ago by staff at an elephant rescue center beloning to Yok Don National Park in Krong Na, a commune in Buon Đon District of Đak Lak Province. They are still in the process of growing.Gold is 850 kilos and Jun is 1,485 kilos. Each of them is taken care and trained by two staff.

Gold (L) and Jun, still growing, were rescued five years ago by the staff of an elephant rescue center with the Yok Don National Park in Krong Na Commune, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province. Gold weighs 850 kilos and Jun, 1,485 kilos. They are cared for by two vets.

Every morning, staff who are also doctors cuts grass to feed the two elephants, who stay in two different area that are surrounded by electric fence, which is said to protect the caregivers from unexpected behaviors of the two tuskers and at the same time, prevent all intruders from harming them.Aside from grass, they also have rice, fruits, vegetables, aside from supplements depending on their health condition.

Every morning, the vets cut leaves and tall grasses to feed the two elephants that are enclosed in two different areas with an electric fence. The fence is installed to protect the caregivers from unexpected behavior of the two tuskers and to prevent intruders from harming them. The tuskers’ daily diet also include rice, fruits, vegetables, apart from supplements given, depending on their health condition.

Gold was rescued on March 28,2016 after falling into a well inside the park’s precinct. He was around four months old back then. After being saved, Gold was released back into the wild but he could not live on his own.The center has had experts from the Animals Asia Foundation [a Hong Kong-based charity that seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia] come over to take care of him mentally and physically and sent him back to the wild three more times but still failed to do so, said Phan Phu, 30, who has taken care of Gold from the beginning.

Gold was rescued on March 28, 2016 after falling into a well inside the park. He was around four months old then. Phan Phu, 30, who has taken care of Gold since his rescue, said after he was rescued, Gold was released back into the wild but could not live on his own. The center has had experts from the Animals Asia Foundation, a Hong Kong-based charity that seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia, come and take care of him mentally and physically. "He was sent back into the wild another three times, but none succeeded."

In the first two years, Gold fed on formula and it took lots of efforts to take care of him because he demanded to be fed repeatedly. In the past two years, he has quit the formula.

For the first two years, Gold was fed on formula milk. It took a lot of effort to take care of him because he demanded to be fed frequently. He has been weaned off the formula for the past two years.

Late last year, Gold had a fight with Jun and has his tusks broken. For months, doctors have had to disinfect the wound four times per day to ensure that the marrow will not be infected.

Late last year, Gold’s tusks were broken in a fight with Jun. For months, the doctors have had to disinfect the wound around four times per day to ensure that the marrow will not be infected.

Jun was found injured after getting stuck in a human’s trap on February 19, 2015. At that time, he was around four years old and was wounded at his left front leg and trunk. Dak Lak is currently home to 80 wild elephants living in a total forest area of 173,000 hectares (430,000 acres) aside from 38 raised in farms of local people.

Jun was found injured on February 19, 2015, stuck in a trap laid by poachers. At that time, he was around four years old. His left leg in the front and his trunk were injured.

His injure at the trunk has already recovered but the one on his leg is serious. Until today, doctors still have to frequently wash the injured part, remove the area that has been gangrened and apply medication on it.

His trunk injury has healed, but the leg wound remains serious. Until today, the vets have to frequently wash the wound, remove gangrene-infected areas and apply medication.

Caregivers always keep a close eye on each elephant to detect any changes in their behaviors as soon as possible.

The caregivers keep a close eye on both elephants, always on the lookout for any changes in their behavior.

They also train the elephants to help them have habits of a wild elephant. One of the lessons is putting honey, pepper, cinnamon or anise on the high trees for them to discover themselves.

They also try to train the two animals in the habits of wild elephants. One "lesson" involves putting honey, pepper, cinnamon or anise on big trees for them to discover these treats by themselves.

Quan, the caregiver, notes everything he has observed from the two elephants at the end of a working day.The number of wild elephants in Vietnam has dropped from 1,500-2,000 in 1990s to 124-148 currently and most of them live in the central region and Central Highlands.  Dak Lak is home to most wild elephants in the country. The province now has around five herds of elephant, with the smallest including 5-10 members and the largest having 32-36, of whom a majority live in Yok Don park.

Quan, the caregiver, makes notes on everything he has observed about the two pachyderms at the end of every working day. The number of wild elephants in Vietnam has dropped from 1,500-2,000 in 1990s to 124-148 currently and most of them live in the central and Central Highlands regions.
Dak Lak is home to most wild elephants in the country. The province now has around five elephant herds, numbering around 80 in total, with the smallest having 5-10 members and the largest, 32-36. Most of them live in an area of 173,000 hectares of the Yok Don park. Another 38 elephants are raised by locals in the province.

 
 
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