happyworld - Vet Follows Baby Elephant And Makes Adorable Discovery

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    All of the experts and veterinarians could not believe their eyes. The baby elephant, who just days earlier had been ill, weak, and depressed, was now exhibiting a completely different behavior. Despite still being sick and undernourished, he was playful and energetic and looked like he’d found a new lease on life. This meant his prospects of survival would increase exponentially. And it was all thanks to the strong bond he had formed with the unlikeliest of creatures.

    One Green Planet
    But that was something no one expected when the baby elephant was found in Hluhluwe’s Bonamanzi Game Reserve in South Africa. The two-week-old pachyderm had been spotted by rescuers alone and moribund, probably having been on his own for days. It appeared that, for some reason, his herd had abandoned him. The rescuers weren’t about to give up on him so they picked him up – but the ordeal was just beginning.

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    The first thing rescuers did was try to reunite the baby with his herd, knowing that his best chance for survival was to be with his own kind. But the herd rejected him again, and the young elephant was left alone again. So the next course of action was to take him to the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve in Zululand, a custom-made sanctuary for South African wildlife. They named the baby Ubuntu but nicknamed him Ellie. There, they discovered the reason for his herd’s rejection.

    Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage
    After a thorough medical assessment, vets at the sanctuary discovered that Ellie was suffering from several afflictions, the worst of which was an infected umbilical hernia. According to experts, 99% of animals with this condition do not recover. So the staff at the reserve worked round the clock to provide him with the best medical care and try to nurse him back to health. But the baby’s dire condition meant the challenge was greater than previously thought.

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    Ellie’s poor health had also caused him to form an intolerance to milk, a nutrient that he desperately needed to regain his strength. Sanctuary staff tried giving him all different kinds of milk, even bringing special formulas from Zimbabwe and Kenya. But the baby kept rejecting the food and furthering his malnourishment. Finally, experts were able to concoct a milk mixture that contained protein, minerals, and coconut oil. Miraculously, Ellie started drinking it. But he was not out of the woods yet.

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    Now that he was finally eating, Ellie’s health started to show signs of stabilizing. But there was something else that worried his caretakers. “He wasn’t showing much interest in doing anything. He was very lethargic, very disinterested,” commented Karen Trendler, the rehabilitation and crisis response expert who was treating Ellie. In truth, the baby elephant was lonely, and it was making him depressed. Elephants are extremely social animals who need communal bonds to thrive. How would he make it without his herd?

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    The reserve staff started to think of ways to help combat Ellie’s loneliness and depression. They had planned to eventually release him back into the wild, to join a herd of wild elephants or one made up of other orphaned pachyderms. But at this point, his condition was still delicate and without medical care, he might not make it through. So they had to find him a companion within the sanctuary. There was only one problem, though.

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    The Thula Thula reserve was home to a wide range of wildlife, from buffalo, giraffes, and zebras to leopards, hyenas, and crocodiles. However, Ellie was the only elephant specimen living there. If he was to find a friend, it would have to be from a different species. But the baby pachyderm didn’t seem too interested in getting acquainted with the other wild animals in the sanctuary. Still, there was someone there who was determined to win his heart.

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    Staff decided to introduce Ellie to Duma, an adult male German Shepherd who lived on the grounds of the reserve. He was a retired police dog, but that didn’t mean he was strict and stern. In fact, he was known for his tenderness and affection towards other creatures. The experts at the sanctuary didn’t know how Ellie would react to Duma, so they brought both of them together in the sandpile and quietly observed their first interactions.

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    To everyone’s surprise and delight, Ellie appeared to approve of Duma, as even just his presence seemed to cheer the baby elephant up. “He suddenly started getting a little bit of interest in life again,” said Trendler. As their relationship developed, Ellie and Duma played together all the time and soon they became inseparable. And it wasn’t just the elephant’s mood and psychological state that were improving.

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    Ellie’s health, along with his happiness, seemed to be on the rise. “Against all odds, this little elephant is still with us,” mentioned Trendler. And it no doubt was thanks to Duma’s influence on him. The dog wasn’t just his friend, he appeared to have taken a sort of paternal role with the little elephant. “We have a hard time keeping Duma away from the elephant. He’s become incredibly protective,” said a reserve spokesperson. But, as it turned out, Duma couldn’t protect Ellie from the inevitable.

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    Five months after he arrived at the sanctuary, Ellie was regaining his strength with the help of his new canine best friend. But he was not at full health yet and was at risk of relapsing given his frailty. And that’s exactly what happened one unexpected day when his infection returned and the septicemia started to spread at an alarming rate. Dismayed, the reserve staff made a desperate plea for help.

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    Trendler took to social media to ask for some urgent medications. “We need to get IV colloids bought thru for a collapsed elephant calf,” she wrote. But, despite the vets’ best efforts, Ellie’s little body gave in and he passed away a few days later. The announcement of his demise made news around the world and the sanctuary was flooded with condolences. And there was someone who was especially beaten down by the tragedy.

    Facebook/Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage
    After little Ellie was gone, Duma’s spirits were dampened, and the reserve staff knew he needed something to fill that void. And, as fate would have it, a new creature at the reserve would soon be in need of Duma’s expertise as an emotional support dog. That animal was Nandi, a baby black rhino, who was found by rescuers after her mother was killed by poachers.

    Facebook/Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage
    As the member of an endangered species, helping Nandi recover from the trauma and thrive was paramount. Luckily, Duma was there to assist along the way. When they first met, he brought a stuffed animal with him as a sign of friendship. With Duma leading the way, the pair soon started playing, hopping, and chasing each other. Their relationship flourished just like it had with Ellie, and the staff knew this baby rhino was in good hands.

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