KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers had to be called in to rescue a baby elephant after its herd refused to accept the calf back into its fold in Sabah’s east coast Lahad Datu district.
Sabah wildlife department (SWD) assistant director Sen Nathan said plantation workers had initially found the calf, which was later named Yuri, at Ladang Felda FGV Sahabat 9 Baiduri Ayu on June 15.
The plantation workers then alerted the Lahad Datu SWD which subsequently deployed a team to assess the situation.
“The team monitored the calf for a few days and tried its best to reunite it back with its herd. Unfortunately, the herd did not take Yuri back,” he said when contacted.
As such, the state wildlife rescue unit (WRU) was called in for an emergency rescue, he added.
“The WRU team managed to get close to the animal and control it. Our veterinarian and rangers, together with the SWD staff, and plantation workers inspected the elephant and found that it was a male, aged less than a year.
“They tried feeding the calf milk but he refused as he was not familiar with it. However, he drinks water through his trunk and eats solid food such as banana trunks,” Sen said.
Upon physical examination, he said Yuri was found to be “bright, alert and responsive”.
He said the animal had minor skin injuries on the left forelimbs and front head. Apart from that, no other abnormalities were found.
“The baby elephant has a good appetite, with positive urination and defecation. Overall, it is a healthy baby elephant,” he said, adding it was named Yuri after the plantation’s name, Baiduri.
He said Yuri has been brought to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) in Sandakan for further veterinary and husbandry care.
“Since we could not assimilate it back with its herd, Yuri will remain in captivity at the centre,” Sen said, thanking the sponsors as well as the plantation workers for immediately alerting the SWD on finding the helpless animal.