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.
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…
Philip Dev was barely a month old when he was found fallen in a ravine along with his mother in Karbi Anglong, Assam, India. It was suspected that his mother slid into the ravine in an attempt to rescue him but couldn’t find her way out through the narrow opening. With much effort and help from the Forest Department and the local villagers, Philip was pulled out of the ravine but his mother succumbed to her injuries even as efforts to rescue her were underway. Philip was admitted to the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in May 2011 for hand-raising and will be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the wild when he of the appropriate age.
Philip was admitted to CWRC in a severely weak and dehydrated condition, with lacerations all over his body including a particularly deep one at the base of his spine acquired during his slide down the rocky mountain side into the ravine. Due to his severely weakened condition, the calf could not even stand for the first two days. Intense monitoring and round-the-clock care put him on the road to recovery, but his wounds still took more than a few weeks to heal.
Once he had stabilized and his wounds considerably healed, Philip was introduced to the older calves at the centre, namely, Junmoni, Tara and Dihing, in the last week of June. The calves were allowed to interact for a couple of hours. The other calves, especially Junmoni, approached and stroked him very tenderly. This being his first encounter with other elephants, Philip was quite scared. He has been taken for small walks since the beginning of July. Initially, he was quite reluctant to leave his room but the keepers would regularly coax him out and he soon started enjoying the company of the three calves.
Growing up to be a pampered little fellow, he’s quite inquisitive and playful, and enthusiastically asks for attention. Philip’s first set of teeth erupted by mid-July! Soon he was even given teeny amounts of foliage to browse.
Although he is housed indoors because he is still quite young, he visits the older calves (who are housed in the outdoor nursery) regularly and gets to spend a lot of time in the open with them.
Philip was down with a bit of a tummy upset (a suspected viral infection) in Oct but soon recovered after treatment with antibiotics – just a minor setback. He has been growing naughtier by the day, and has been ever more playful since the time he has been housed with Rani (a new calf admitted in September). The calves have been going for regular walks in Panbari Reserve Forest and are also allowed to play in the shallow stream that runs close to CWRC.
We look forward to keeping you updated on Philip’s growth and progress!
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