This baby elephant did not take naturally to the water when she went for a dip in a Thai swimming pool.
The calf took a tentative splash in a pool at a veterinary clinic on Thursday as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured foot.
Baby Fah Jam was three months old when her front left leg was caught in a trap set by villagers in Chanthaburi province, 155 miles southeast of the capital, Bangkok.
Veterinarian Padet Siridumrong said Fah Jam, who is now five months old, was showing signs of improvement following initial water-based exercises known as hydrotherapy.
After losing part of her left foot in a s.nare, the baby elephant, whose name translates as ‘Clear Sky’, is now learning to walk again – in the water.
The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok.
The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wo.unded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.
‘By her fourth or fifth sessions, she will enjoy swimming more. She’s just a baby, that’s why she’s a bit scared at first but, by nature, elephants love the water,’ Padet said.
The treatment could take up to two months, he added.
The elephant is a symbol of Thailand and in ancient times they were used to carry soldiers into bat.tle. They were also used in the logging industry.
But logging has been banned and many domesticated elephants have ended up on the tourist trail, giving rides and putting on displays in shows.
Animal rights groups have criticized the use of elephants in the tourism industry, arguing that animals are often mistreated.
There are about 3,700 elephants left in the wild in Thailand and up to 4,000 domesticated ones, according to EleAid, a British organization working for the conservation of the Asian elephant.
Deforestation, rapid urbanization, and poaching of elephants for their ivory have all contributed to a dramatic decline in the wild elephant population.