A Resilient Young Elephant Overcomes Odds: Save the Elephants Researchers Detail Inspiring Recovery

In a recent report, field researchers from Save the Elephants shared a heartwarming story of resilience involving a young male elephant facing adversity.

Initially observed with signs of lameness and a swollen right hind leg, the elephant prompted urgent action to assess and address its condition.

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Located near the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the lone elephant appeared calm and alert while feeding on acacia trees.


Despite its overall good body condition, a closer examination revealed a distressing situation—the right hind leg displayed visible swelling, particularly around the hock joint.

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Additionally, wounds were noted on the lateral aspect of the swelling, and the elephant avoided putting weight on the affected leg.

Researchers decided to chemically immobilize the elephant to conduct a comprehensive assessment and provide treatment.


By utilizing Etorphine hydrochloride (3mg), the elephant was safely immobilized by 1616 hr.

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The subsequent physical examination confirmed a diagnosis of tarsal bone fracture, which had healed with the formation of callous tissue and bone malunion.

The treatment plan included debridement, cleaning, and disinfection of superficial wounds using povidone-iodine.


Intramuscular injections of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered to address potential infections and reduce inflammation.

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Remarkably, the injuries had healed despite the visible leg being deformed, and the elephant did not display signs of pain.

The procedure concluded at 1637 hr when the elephant, having received Naltrexone hydrochloride, was returned to standing.


While the leg may retain its deformity, the treatment’s positive outcome underscores wildlife’s resilience.

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This intervention showcases the pivotal role of conservation efforts in ensuring the health and well-being of individual animals in their natural habitats.

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