Philip Dev (front) with Rani and Nunai in CWRC.
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 measurements
Chest 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.
Philip tugging at keeper's arm for the bottle.
L-R Rani, Nunai & Philip in their playpond