Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Baby Joe' is doing fine at wildlife park

Photo: Andrew Chant

KOTA KINABALU: JOE, the elephant calf, which captured the hearts of all when a photograph of it trying to wake its dead mother was published, is doing fine.

Two months down the line, the four-month-old calf has gained weight and is also more sociable with other elephants at the Lok Kawi Sabah Wildlife Park, near here.

Sabah Wildlife veterinarian Dr Roza Sipagkui said seeing other elephants could psychologically motivate baby Joe to move on with its life despite its loss.

"During the first day, it was brought here, it looked traumatised so knowing that there would be other animals here can help it to familiarise itself," she added.

However, the calf is still being monitored as they could not be sure whether the "poison" is completely removed from its internal system.

"Baby Joe drank its mother's milk. It could possibly be also be poisoned," she said.

The calf has gained weight after being fed baby formula by hand. It has also began taking in solids in the form of grass and soft parts of banana tree trunk.

Roza said that baby Joe would continue to stay at the park until they were sure that it was capable of taking care of itself in the wild.

Baby Joe hit the headlines when it was pictured nuzzling its lifeless mother in a desperate attempt to revive her.

Baby Joe's mother was among 14 pygmy elephants found dead at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the outcome of the second test result would be revealed next week.

"We will wait for the test report and further action will be taken based on the facts," he added.

The result of the first test on the elephants' deaths proved to be inconclusive. A sample was sent to forensic testing facilities in Australia and Thailand in an effort to find any chemical compounds that may have caused the deaths of the pachyderms.


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