Rescued baby elephant dies of injuries

Thanwa, the rescued baby elephant that was being treated at Bueng Chawak Zoo in Suphan Buri, died when her condition deteriorated on Tuesday evening.

Residents of Khao Chot, in Kanchanaburi province, found Thanwa injured and separated from her herd following rain and floods. The baby elephant was just one month old when she was injured after losing her herd in the forest around Srinakarin Dam.

Locals contacted national park officials, who took the calf on to the Bueng Chawak Wildlife Management Centre, where veterinarians noted she had sustained multiple injuries. The complex transportation to the centre required a temperature-controlled car and a helicopter. Though it is unknown how she was injured, a wildlife veterinarian expert said that there were too many injuries to count.

“A health assessment was performed and initial treatment was provided. It was found that the stray elephant calf was a female aged about one month and weighing 130-150 kilograms. The elephant was very weak, undernourished and severely dehydrated, with loose stool and pale mucous membranes. A hole was found in the [elephant’s] mouth and multiple wounds infected with flies’ eggs on the tip of the lower lip and ears. Scratches were found all over the body.”

Officials from the Khuean Srinagarindra National Park reported her dire condition on December 3 on the Department of National Parks Facebook page. On Tuesday, the day before her death, wildlife officials posted clips of Thanwa attempting to walk, sit and lie down. Though she had trouble moving, her caretakers were optimistic about her prospects as she had put on several kilograms.

Photo: Bungchawak Wildlife Management Center
Yesterday morning she did not respond to calls from staff. The team tried to revive her but was unable to save her.

Veterinarians performed an autopsy and found that Thanwa had large wounds above her right eye, and cheeks, ears, shoulders, elbows, hips, legs, and ankles. They also found organ damage including intestinal bleeding, large amounts of pus in her lungs, and bleeding in her right kidney.

Due to the severity of organ failure, Thanwa was unable to breathe and digest properly, leading to her death.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.