LENGGONG: The orphaned elephant calf's journey to its new home at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Translocation Unit in Pahang turned grim when it collapsed during efforts to transfer it out.
The 18-month-old calf stopped just 10m from a pick-up trailer meant to transport it to Kuala Gandah and refused to budge in the midst of the process which took place at the Felcra Kampung Chepor oil palm estate near here.
Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) rangers had to prop up the 300kg calf as it swayed and wobbled.
The calf, affectionately nicknamed Mat Chepor, would not move despite two doses of drugs and gentle coaxing and prodding by the rangers.
When the calf collapsed two hours later, Perak Perhilitan deputy director Mohamad Bokhari Fadzin decided to seek help from a veterinarian.
The day actually started on a good note, with Perhilitan officers feeding it banana leaves.
Mat Chepor was drugged at about 11am to calm it down and was led into a pick-up which brought it out of the forest reserve to the oil palm estate.
When they arrived at the estate at about 12.30pm, they managed to get Mat Chepor out of the pick-up. That was when it stopped and collapsed.
The mood became more sombre at about 4pm when Mat Chepor was still lying on its side with its eyes open.
“It (the elephant) was supposed to wake up hours ago but it still has not been able to get back to its feet. We don't know what's wrong,” Mohamad Bokhari said.
Asked if the baby elephant would die, he said he would have to wait for the veterinarian to check it first.
At 7.45pm, it was given 500ml of dextrose to boost its energy.
At press time, Taiping Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus was summoned to treat the calf.
On Monday, Perhilitan rangers tracked and captured Mat Chepor in the Piah Forest Reserve, where he was kept until yesterday.