Rani Deepor was found stuck in a mud pit and all alone at the tender age of two months. Rani’s herd had come too close to a village and had been chased away by the villagers. The little calf was left behind as a result of this conflict. An attempt was made to reunite her with her herd, which was then moving between Rani Reserve Forest and Deepor Beel, Guwahati, and the calf was kept at Rani Reserve Forest for a couple of days in the hope that the herd might return for her. When all attempts at reuniting had failed, she was shifted to Guwahati Zoo for immediate care. A week later, on the 18th of Sep 2011, the calf was shifted to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) for hand-raising and rehabilitation.
Admitted with only minor health problems, like an upset tummy due to drastic changes in food, she recovered in no time and adjusted well to the new feeding regime. Tenderly cared for by her keeper, Raju, it didn’t take her long to settle down and mingle with the other calves at the centre.
An ever inquisitive calf, Rani always has her ears splayed out in anticipation and watches all activities with her big bulging eyes. Also noticeable, is a teeny hole to the far end of the left ear. Rani is very communicative and especially vocal during her feeds. Absolutely impatient during feed times, she trumpets loudly if her bottle is delayed by even a few minutes.
Rani’s first friend and playmate at the centre was Philip Dev. Rani and Philip took to each other right from the start and have followed each other around like shadows ever since. Philip, being naughtier than her, often leads Rani to mischief. Much like Philip, Rani too doesn’t enjoy playing in the play pond yet. Although Philip always finds his way out, Rani just stays put, obediently waiting to hear, “Play time’s up!” so she can rush back to the enclosure.
We look forward to keeping you updated on Rani Deepor’s growth and progress!
At 10 months of age, our adorable Philip is growing into a strong, happy and extremely naughty calf. He is very bashful around strangers and approaches cautiously, not wanting to miss out on anything yet keeping just a safe distance away. Hairier than the rest, Philip remains the centre of attention.
Let us also introduce you to Philip’s playmates: His days are spent in the company of Rani Deephor (as mentioned in a previous report) and Lilly Nunai. Philip and Rani are quite inseparable and follow each other around. Lilly, much younger than the two, has also now joined their group. She is a little unsure around the older elephant calves and prefers the company of Rani and Philip.
Still on nine milk feeds a day, the calves (both Rani and Philip) are given a mix of Nestogen and rice gruel for their feed – a nutritious combination which is also good for their digestion. The calves have also started consuming some grass and a bit of the seed mix offered to the older calves.
The calves are taken for small walks to their favorite play pond, in Panbari Reserve Forest, which is a short distance away from the centre. The walks, although infrequent due to the presence of wild elephants in the adjacent wildlife corridor, are most pleasurable.
Although the older girls really enjoy splashing about in the water, Philip isn’t very much for it and dislikes getting wet. He runs away at first opportunity, often leading Rani away with him as well. When coaxed into the water, he will scramble out at the earliest and stand across the pond, well out of reach, visibly indignant. Yet, all is forgiven and he comes running back in haste as soon as he is called to return to the Centre. He is a treat for the eyes!
Owing to the intense cold of the North Eastern winter, the calves all have blankets doubled-up and tied around them at night and an extra layer of blankets on their mattresses for warmth. They are also tucked in a little earlier due to shorter daylight hours.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming this far with us and look forward to sharing more of our elephant calves' wonderful journey with you…
Mohammad Hasen Ali (inset) and his team were patrolling their beat in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in Assam at about 2.30 am in 2010, when they encountered a gang of rhino poachers. Shots were fired and the poachers made good their escape leaving behind a wounded Hasen Ali. Ali’s team rushed him to the nearest medical facility but he was dead on arrival.
Ali is survived by his wife, Rabia Khatun, his aged parents and six children (two daughters and four sons). He was the only earning member in the family. His family received one lakh rupees ($2000) as terminal benefit facilitated through Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)’s Guardians of the Wild (Van Rakshak Project) that runs an umbrella insurance scheme for front-line staff across the country. Ali was among the 18,000 forest guards insured under this scheme.
Handing over the cheque, the Assam State Forest Minister, Mr. Rockybul Hussain, said, “We thank WTI for this help to the family of the deceased. It is definitely a significant support for our staff. We need such organisations to help us and we are thankful that WTI always works in collaboration with the Forest Department.” “Wildlife in Assam is safe and sound because of dedicated officers like Hasen Ali. They have devoted their whole lives to protect the wildlife heritage, biodiversity and habitats and the supreme sacrifice of these people should be recognized, respected and compensated. This will encourage them to work with the same kind of dedication and commitment, and the future of our wildlife will be safe,” said Suresh Chand, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife).
WTI’s Guardians of the Wild project also trains and equips front-line staff across the country to combat wildlife crime. More than 8,600 front-line staff members from over 100 protected areas and more than 25 other wildlife areas have been trained under this project.