Philip Dev is now 28 months old and has crossed his 2nd year in the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) campus. He was rescued from a ravine in Ouguri Range as a newborn - wounded and weak, and had been in intensive care on arrival to CWRC. In the beginning, Philip’s time was occupied by round-the-clock care from the caretakers. He had regular wound dressings, treatments, and two hourly milk feeds; besides tucked into bed in the nursery every night - a far cry from the Philip of today! Philip today spends most of his day exploring the forests with some of the older calves. When he is in back in the CWRC campus, he interacts with the younger calves. Philip, who was being mentored by the older calves in the past, can now be observed mentoring the calves younger to him!
Not the only male in the herd anymore!
The CWRC elephant group has had a new addition in July. For a long time Philip was the only male among the calves being rehabilitated. On the 26th of July, a male elephant calf rescued from Hojai was admitted to the centre, and is now slowly being introduced to the rest of the group. As the veterinarians and keepers observed the newcomer, they noted that though he was bullied and pushed around a little initially, it wasn’t long before Philip and the other elephants accepted him as a part of the herd.
Philip’s interaction with the other elephants at CWRC
Philip spends most of his day in the jungle with other elephants - Rani and Tora, accompanied by a keeper looking over them. Here they graze for all day returning to the CWRC campus in the evening. Philip, Rani and Tora have now outgrown the night nurseries and spend their nights in the outdoor elephant paddock. This area is surrounded by electric fencing to protect the calves and is enriched with branches and leaves of edible plants in different corners. The keepers have even started tying leafy branches onto trees to encourage the calves to forage and explore their surroundings - this is a big step for the three calves. The calves are now being weaned off human dependence as they have started spending more time in a natural habitat, with less human interaction. Here, they will not only learn from each other but also from their instincts.
It was observed that all the calves seem to be spending more time in anticipating their milk feeds and consequently spend less time foraging. To encourage them to forage more, the frequency of milk feeds has been reduced to twice a day. Additionally, the morning concentrate feed has also been stopped after which the calves are spending more of their time in the forest feeding on creepers. Besides this, they also have a concentrate feed of Bengal gram powder, broken wheat, rice, soya bean powder, molasses, salt and bananas. This supplemental food is is given in the evening when the calves are let into the fenced off paddock for the night. The preparation is fortified with multivitamins, mineral mixture and probiotics. A recent fecal examination showed that Philip had developed a worm load and hence he was dewormed and being monitored closely by the vets. The fibroid growth on Philip’s right leg is still there but is not affecting his gait. It has, therefore, been left undisturbed as per the vet’s advice.
As always, Philip gets excited and pushes the others around, especially when he spots the keepers bringing his milk bottle to him. The vet at CWRC suggests that this food anticipatory behavior may reduce once he is weaned off milk. Also, the presence of the other calves is helping to curb this behavior as they take up a lot of Philip’s attention.
The calves, especially Philip, at CWRC are adapting gradually to the forest. He is growing quickly and learning from his surroundings. As per the protocol, Philip will be moved to the release site for soft release next year along with the other grown up calves of the herd.
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