Elephant calf struggles to live

An injured baby elephant is sitting on the ground in Khalequer Ghona area of Chattogram's Rangunia upazila yesterday. Falling from a 150 feet high hill on March 24, the calf fractured different parts of its body and lost its mobility. Since then local forest officials are looking after the animal and are trying to rescue it from the remote area. Photo: Mostafa Yousuf

When an elephant calf fell down from a 150 feet high hill on March 24, at Khaleque'r Ghona of Sharafbhata union under Rangunia upazila, other elephants in its herd frantically tried to pull it back up and take it along with them.

As the hind legs of the calf were completely paralysed, the other elephants failed to pull it up but they pushed it forward to bring it into people's notice before leaving.

On-duty forest guards heard the helpless grunts of the calf that very day. They contacted the relevant authorities. They have since then engaged one guard to feed banana leaves to the injured calf.

The elephant, weighing 600 kg, is around 3-4 years old.

For the past 10 days, the calf has been raising its trunk at the sight of human gatherings as if to ask for their help.

People living nearby are coming in hundreds to visit the injured calf.

“It is heart wrenching to see the way the baby elephant is asking for help. The moment it sees us, it raises its trunk up for help,” Abdullah, a villager close to the hill, told The Daily Star on the spot.

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division) of Chattogram Golam Mowla told The Daily Star that they formed a three member committee to oversee the situation of the injured elephant on March 25.

We are trying our best to rescue the elephant, he added.

Dr Mustafizur Rahman, veterinary surgeon of Dulahazari Safari Park, also member secretary of the committee formed to treat the elephant, confirmed the height of the hill that the calf fell from to be 150 feet.

“We assume that it fell from the hill while searching for food along with its herd. I found the hill to be sandy and thus, incapable of carrying much weight.

“The injury is massive as the calf's backbone, tail and legs are fractured, leaving it paralysed and immobile. Primarily, we injected steroids to relieve it from pain and dextrose saline to give it some energy. As the area is remote, hilly and inaccessible, it is difficult to lift it and move it to a safer location,” he said.

The team will be keeping a watch on the elephant, he said.

Md Jashim Uddin Elahi, beat officer of Chiringa under Rangunia forest range, told The Daily Star that they found the elephant calf grunting out of pain at Khaleque'r Ghona while carrying out daily duties in the morning.

“It kept moving in a circular motion, trying to gain attention for help, he said, adding that they are guarding and feeding the elephant by turns.

“The calf's herd comes at night to visit their baby. We are guessing, since they failed to rescue the calf themselves, they nudge it forward towards the road that is frequented by people,” he added.

He added that people nearby are also assisting forest officials to help the calf survive.


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