The elephant Ayeyar Sein gets impatient while a veterinarian prepares his bottle of milk and walks carefully, his left front leg in a splint made of bamboo and fabric bandages.
The four-month-old elephant was rescued last month from a hunter’s trap in the forest of the Ayeyarwaddy region of southwestern Myanmar and is now being cared for by staff at the Wingabaw Elephant Sanctuary, an hour’s drive northeast of Yangon.
“When she arrived at camp last month, her paw was terribly painful,” said Than Naing Oo, the camp’s veterinarian, as she cleaned up the wound. “Now she’s better because we treat her with medication twice a day.”
Than Naing Oo said Ayeyar Sein’s parents were not seen anywhere near the trap and were probably killed by poachers. Poachers kill elephants for their tusks and skin, which are used in particular to make traditional jewelry and medicines.
“The big challenge for us in caring for elephants is to keep them alive,” said Shwe Yi Win Htet, camp official, adding that two young elephants had died in their care.
“They don’t have a mother to feed them and are fed powdered milk. That is why we all take care of them very carefully. Our priority is to prolong their lives,” she said.
The authorities have named the four-month-old calf Ayeyar Sein, in keeping with the tradition of giving orphans the first name of the state in which they are located.
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