Friday, April 19, 2013

Orphaned Borneo Pygmy Elephant calf ‘Joe’ is healthy and well

KOTA KINABALU: It was heart-wrenching looking at the picture of an elephant calf forlornly tugging at its dead mother last January at Gunung Rara.

The elephant calf, who has since been given the name ‘Kejora’ (after the plantation where it was found) and nicknamed ‘Joe’ by his caretakers, is healthy and well – all thanks to the love and care of staff and namely one special person, his preferred caretaker, Augustine David.

“Joe is active and naughty, just like any other child,” said Augustine, when visited by a group of reporters keen on seeing how the six-month-old orphaned calf is doing.

When reporters went into ‘his domain’ at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo, the little calf did what many small children would do in the presence of strangers – he clung on to Augustine.

And like a parent, Augustine stroked the calf’s head, possibly trying to assure it that it was alright. Soon, Joe began moving towards everyone, using his trunk to feel a person’s hand, bags, clothing and so on.

“He has gained 50kg since his arrival. He is 150kg now. He is still nursing, and we give him three litres of milk every two hours. He ‘wails’ when he is hungry,” Augustine said of Joe.

He added that Joe was not like that in the initial stage.

“He was quiet, very insecure. Now, he can be naughty and plays a lot,” he said.

It has been three months since SWD’s sad discovery at Gunung Rara where 14 Borneo pygmy elephants were found dead – one of which was Joe’s mother.

Yesterday, reporters were informed that the death was due to ‘caustic intoxicant’, which in layman terms meanS ‘unidentified toxic poisoning’.