Philip Dev, now a sturdy 15-month old is, as always, the most feisty of the group of young elephant calves at CWRC. You can always find him rushing to the keeper at feeding time, enthusiastically tossing of his head and trunk and sometimes even pushing Rani and Nunai out of the way in his hurry to be first in the line for the bottle. He is not very fond of baths in the playpond but will still good-naturedly tolerate the dunkings that Nunai subjects him to.
Another important happening is that Philip’s tusks have just started to erupt and he is to be a tusker! Unlike African elephants, only a very small proportion of male Asian elephants have tusks and this makes Philip even more special for us.
Philip has also grown taller by 2 cm from the last time he was measured and comparing him and his playmates, Rani and Philip are the same height while little Nunai is 1 cm shy of being a meter tall.Philip Dev’s measurementsChest girth: 150 cm; Shoulder height: 106 cm; Body length: 148 cm
Two months ago, Philip had developed a lump in his left foreleg. Initially thought to be an abscess or a tumor, the veterinarians from Guwahati Veterinary College later diagnosed this to be a harmless fibroid mass that would need surgical intervention only if it started to affect his gait.
The rains have not been a very comfortable time for the young calves at CWRC with waterborne infections taking its toll and Philip was also ill for a while along with the rest of the calves. He is much better now after medications with recent stool tests showing a negative parasitic load.
It was also noticed that Philip had been losing a little weight even though his milk and grass intake was normal, perhaps due to the eruption of tusks. As a precaution, he has been having special supervision by one of the animal keepers during the day who keeps watch over him and monitors his intake of grass and milk - much like a mother making sure of the child’s nutritional intake.
Now that the worst of the rains is over, Philip and his friends are starting to go back to their old routine with mostly spending time outdoors.
We are very grateful for the generosity of kind hearted people such as you that enables the field teams in Assam to carry on this crucial task of caring for orphaned elephant calves and giving them a chance to live a life of freedom and dignity in the wild.
In April 2012, training sessions on Wildlife Crime Prevention was initiated in Manas National Park in Assam, India, to build capacity of more than 550 front line forest guards who protect this World Heritage Site. The training modules were custom designed by the WTI Guardians of the Wild team to build a knowledgeable, strong and motivated front line force to curb wildlife crime.
The course began with an overview of trends in wildlife crime in India and around the world. Subsequent topics dealt with various aspects of Indian wildlife law (Wildlife Protection Act, 1972), poaching prevention techniques, crime scene investigation, intelligence gathering, and preparation of the Preliminary Offence Report (POR). Information on procedures and techniques for collection and preservation of evidence from the crime scene was also imparted. A mock crime scene investigation was also played out as part of the field demonstration.
About 550 foot patrolling kits consisting of a backpack, winter jacket, waterproof poncho, water bottle, torch and cap were distributed to the front line forest guards. The equipment had been selected taking into consideration the terrain and weather conditions that the guards experience while patroling their beat. Six anti-poaching camps in the remote Chirang Reserve Forest were also provided with solar powered equipment for charging communication devices. With the improvement in communication between forest camps, forest guards in this area have carried out four successful operations against poachers and encroachers over the past month.
WTI’s work in Manas began in the early 2000s, with research to generate the crucial baseline data immediately after peace was restored following two decades of civil unrest. Since then, numerous initiatives have been implemented to facilitate landscape conservation through a holistic approach. In addition to advocating and garnering political will to create Greater Manas, these also include promotion of green livelihoods, awareness generation, and pioneering initiatives like the reintroduction of rhinos in Manas, rehabilitation of rare and endangered wildlife including clouded leopards, tiger, elephants, Asiatic black bears, and many other displaced animals.
It has been a year since Philip Dev was admitted to CWRC for long-term care and rehabilitation and it brings me great pleasure to update you on his progress through the last few months. But first, let me take this opportunity to be thankful for the presence of this little soul and his quirky ways and also to thank all the wonderful people who have repeatedly gone out of their way to help this little soul and others like him. I’d like to extend a special thank you to all the veterinarians and keepers involved in Philip’s care and a big thank you to You for your extensive generosity and goodwill. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Philip has today crossed 13 months of age and is the oldest of the group of the little calves. He remains the hairiest of the lot with his Mohawk as distinct as ever. The calves were all measured a month ago and Rani, who is slightly younger than Philip, turned out to be marginally taller than him.
Phillip’s measurements Chest girth: 155 cmShoulder height: 104 cmBody length: 136 cm
Philip is still on 9 milk feeds a day, and unlike the other younger calves, he enjoys nibbling on a bit of the concentrate feed which mostly contains rice, jaggery, various lentils, soya and some salts. The little charmer has also ingeniously learned to untie shoelaces and seems to be obsessed with it!
Much to Philip’s relief, the calves haven’t been taken for baths in their play-pond as the water had all dried up. Instead, they have had to make do with a luxurious spray of the hose, which Philip quite enjoys. Showers, too, have been infrequent because of the weather. The calves only get a shower on good, pleasant, sunny days. Unfortunately, as it has rained in lot in the past few weeks, the younger calves have missed out on frequent baths and have even had to spend some time indoors.
The month of April was very worrying for our team as many of the calves suddenly fell sick and lost their appetite. Despite having been dewormed recently, subsequent tests indicated a higher parasitic load and the calves responded well to another dose of deworming. Although not as much as the older calves, but Philip too had been unwell and lost a bit of weight in this duration. Thankfully, he is well now, feeding enthusiastically and has returned to his normal playful self.
Philip Dev and his friendsQuite like a matriarch, Philip has been leading the group of the younger calves! Maybe someday, the tables will turn! Rani sticks close to Philip and follows him around like a shadow. Nunai too, weaned off the dependency on her keeper, spends all her time with Philip and Rani. Being quite young themselves, Philip and Rani aren’t completely gentle with her but she doesn’t seem to mind it too much. This cute little one sometimes forgets to follow them and then suddenly realizes she’s been left behind and then trumpets and runs back towards them.
All orphaned under tragic circumstances, these three little calves now form a close knit group and spend their days in play under the care of the rehab team in Assam. Delightful as their presence in CWRC is, we all look forward to the day they take their place in the wild again.