KOTA KINABALU: Sahabat, the wandering injured elephant which was rescued from an estate in Lahad Datu in April, has turned from scared and wild to a friendly and happy calf.
Found almost blind due to an eye infection, the two-year-old calf is on its way to full recovery, and is expected to be able to return to the wild very soon.
Jibius Dausip, the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) pygmy elephant specialist, who is also known among his peers as the elephant whisperer, said Sahabat was frantic when rescuers first found him.
Slowly, the calf started to trust the rangers and vets, and a bond was formed between animal and man.
“Now, Sahabat is ever happy whenever a human goes near her, she treats them as friends and family, ” Jibius said.
SWD director Augustine Tuuga said they are doing all they can to make sure that Sahabat’s eyes are fully healed from infection and then hopefully, to send him back to his herd.
He said the medical fees to cure Sahabat was funded by FGV Holdings Berhad, as the calf was found by FGV workers.
FGV’s Plantation Controller Md Yahaya Judin said they spent about RM16,000 for Sahabat’s medical fees.
This is not the first time the company has helped rescue elephants, as prior to that in March, they had also saved four elephants trapped inside a pond within Felda Sahabat.
Pygmy elephants are endangered and there is an estimate of less than 2,000 elephants left in the wild in Sabah.
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