Baby Elephant Rejected by Family After Rescue: How Human Intervention Caused a Heartbreaking Outcome

In an unexpected turn of events, a young elephant in Vietnam was sadly rejected by its family after being rescued by humans. This touching story highlights the delicate balance between wildlife and human intervention.

The baby elephant, named Gold, was separated from his mother when he fell into a well dug by illegal loggers near Buon Don, Vietnam.

After being nursed back to health by rescuers for two weeks, the team, led by British wildlife expert Dr. Jake Veasey, attempted to reunite Gold with his family. Initially, it appeared the reunion was a success, but Gold was found alone less than twelve hours later.


Dr. Veasey believes that Gold’s mother may not have been present in the herd or recognized her calf due to his human scent and exposure to human baby milk. It’s also possible that the mother was no longer lactating, making her less inclined to accept her baby.

Heartbroken: The three-month-old baby, called Gold, was first separated from his mother after falling into a well dug by illegal loggers 20 miles from Buon Don in Vietnam. Source: Daily Mail

Gold’s plight began when he got trapped in a well dug by illegal loggers. While adult elephants could access the water supply with their trunks, Gold’s smaller size led to his fall.

Rescuers had to carefully remove the other elephants from the area to save Gold without being attacked, as elephants in Vietnam view humans as threats.


Despite initial hopes that the herd would return for Gold, their fear of humans led them to abandon the area.

Rescuers spent two weeks nurturing the young animal back to health in the hope he could be reunited with its family. Source: Daily Mail
Volunteers tried to encourage Gold to rejoin his herd (pictured) by pushing the baby towards them – and at first, it seemed like his attempt had been a success. Source: Daily Mail

Gold resides in temporary housing as Animals Asia constructs a sanctuary for him and other needy elephants.

Dr. Veasey shared his concerns about Gold’s mental state, saying that the baby elephant showed signs of chronic stress and missed his mother.


The team initially refrained from providing excessive affection to avoid creating a human imprint on Gold.

Rescuers said that Gold’s mother may not have been in the herd at all, or she may not have recognized him as he had been away for two weeks and smelt of humans and human baby milk. Source: Daily Mail
The team’s joy turned to devastation when Gold was found alone less than twelve hours after being reintroduced to the wild, some distance from the area where he had been left. Source: Daily Mail
Gold lost his family in March after he got trapped in a well dug by illegal loggers who cut down rainforest trees to sell timber. Source: Daily Mail

Plans are underway to help Gold recover by introducing him to a new herd. Dr. Veasey and his colleagues aim to rescue elephants from Vietnam’s tourist trade and build new social groups at the sanctuary.

They hope that the solid maternal instincts of female elephants will help Gold thrive in his new environment.

Alone: The baby elephant was found wandering alone in the Vietnam wilderness after being rejected by its herd. Source: Daily Mail
Gold had been showing signs of chronic stress – pacing back and forwards diagonally – and trying to suckle everything because he misses his mother’s teat. Source: Daily Mail
Volunteers have ordered specialist bottles for the baby elephant and hope that when a new sanctuary is built, his health and well-being will improve. Source: Daily Mail
Currently, there is just one other elephant in the temporary corral with Gold, but Veasey and his colleagues are planning on building herds, thereby rescuing elephants from Vietnam’s tourist trade. Source: Daily Mail

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