Baby elephant cried for 7 days straight after being abandoned by his mother and family after being released into the wild because he smelled like a human

Wandering alone in the forest, this heartbroken baby elephant was rejected by his family after being reintroduced to the wild.

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.

Rescuers spent two weeks nurturing the young animal back to health in the hope he could be reunited with its family.

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

Rescuers spent two weeks nurturing the young animal back to health in the hope he could be reunited with its family

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

British wildlife expert Dr Jake Veasey tried to encourage Gold to rejoin his herd by pushing the baby towards them – and at first it seemed like his attempt had been a success.

But his team’s joy turned to devastation when he was found alone less than twelve hours later, some distance from the area where he had been left.

Dr Veasey said that Gold’s mother may not have been in the herd at all, or she may not have recognised him as he had been away for two weeks and smelt of humans and human baby milk.

‘Maybe her milk had dried up and she was no longer lactating,’ he added.

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.

While the adult elephants were large enough to reach the well’s water supply with their trunks, Gold’s smaller stature meant he fell in when he tried to drink.

Rescuers said that Gold’s mother may not have been in the herd at all, or she may not have recognised him as he had been away for two weeks and smelt of humans and human baby milk

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

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

Rescue workers had to move the rest of the family away from the well to save Gold without being attacked themselves, as elephants in Vietnam are nervous around humans and view them as a threat.

Despite hopes that the herd would eventually return and find the baby, the adult elephants had been scared off by the human presence.

Now Gold is living in temporary accommodation while Animals Asia build a sanctuary to care for him and other elephants.

‘Gold was so depressed and lonely that we worried he might not survive,’ said Dr Veasey, who explained that the team were at first reluctant to ‘smother him with affection’ for fear of giving him ‘a human imprint’ and compromising his chances of a life in the wild.

Alone: The baby elephant was found wandering alone in the Vietnam wilderness after being rejected by its herd

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

Volunteers have ordered specialist bottles for the baby elephant, and hope that when a new sanctuary is built, his health and wellbeing will improve

Currently there is just one other elephant in the temporary corral with Gold, but Veasey and his colleagues are planning on building herds there by rescuing elephants from Vietnam’s tourist trade

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.

But Veasey has now ordered specialist bottles for the baby elephant, and hopes that when the sanctuary is built, his health and wellbeing will improve.

Currently there is just one other elephant in the temporary corral with Gold, but Veasey and his colleagues are planning on building herds there by rescuing elephants from Vietnam’s tourist trade.

‘Often the females have strong maternal instincts,’ he added.

‘It would be great to see Gold in a social situation where he can interact with other elephants and thrive.’

Sia

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