Channel 5 brought its viewers a rollercoaster of emotions as they chronicled the inspiring journey of a baby elephant’s fight against a lethal disease at a Thai elephant hospital.
Minnie, a two-year-old elephant, stole the audience’s hearts with her fight against the Elephant Herpes Virus, a deadly disease among the species. The spotlight was on her at Lampang’s Elephant Hospital, where the documentary was shot.
This animal healthcare facility annually welcomes about 100 sick and injured elephants, with their dedicated caretakers known as mahouts looking after them. Wildlife expert Dr. Paul O’Donoghue had a chance to witness their remarkable work first-hand.
Watch the video at the end.
Minnie, a vibrant young elephant, was diagnosed and promptly started on an antibiotic course. Her fight with the illness deeply moved the viewers. However, the use of chains on the animals in the hospital drew some criticism from the audience.
The show also sheds light on the deadly virus Minnie was battling, a disease that claimed the lives of 60 baby elephants in Thailand over the previous year.
Minnie’s devoted carer, Marty, was deeply concerned about her well-being and never left her side. The challenge was administering 60 anti-viral tablets daily to Minnie, who, like any young animal, was not keen on taking medicine.
“Like any baby animals, they don’t like taking medicine, but you put it in the bananas, and it is their favorite food,” explained Paul.
Marty ingeniously concealed the medication in bananas, Minnie’s favorite food, and fed her daily. The strong bond between Marty and Minnie was evident, and Paul noted that the two were inseparable.
Minnie initially raised concerns at the hospital due to her apparent lack of energy. Elephant herpes, a hemorrhagic disease first identified in Asia in 1995, poses a particularly severe threat to elephant calves. Swift treatment is crucial for survival, but only one-third of infected calves fully recover.
The disease’s first sign is a high fever, leading the hospital’s doctor to take Minnie’s temperature. Her temperature exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit, confirming the suspicion that she had contracted the virus. She was promptly started on antibiotics to combat the disease.
Thanks to Marty’s unwavering care, Minnie’s successful treatment brought a wave of relief to the show’s viewers, who had developed a deep sympathy for the young elephant.
Viewers expressed their joy online with comments like, “Loved seeing Minnie recover. Such a good program,” and “Well, Minnie was a little terror! But so glad to see she recovered!! I now want to shower an elephant to gain its friendship.” Another viewer added, “Wonderful news for Minnie and everyone caring at the Elephant Hospital. Only tissues needed for tears of joy.”
However, the documentary also sparked a debate over the use of chains on the elephants at the hospital, with one viewer stating, “Not loving seeing the chains around the elephant’s necks & they really shouldn’t be ridden anymore.
Watch the video below: