VIDEO: IFAW-WTI Indian Elephant Calf Release

This is my third visit to Manas National Park, bringing our orphaned elephants and rhinos here for release into their new home in the wild. Manas is a beautiful location, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the border with Bhutan – indeed the national park spills over the border to become the Royal Manas National Park on the Bhutanese side, and of course, the border means nothing to our animals.

Now that our elephants are in their new home, they will wander freely during the day, accompanied by our keepers who keep a watchful eye on them, and at night encourage them back to the safety of their electric fenced enclosure with tidbits – there are predators, tigers and leopards, in the park and our babies are still small enough to fall prey to a hungry tiger. Wild elephants frequently visit the area, and with luck our babies will encounter them, and over time come to be accepted and integrated into the herd. The bond with the humans who raised them is then completely broken and they are truly wild animals again. Many people wonder if we are sad when this happens, but the answer is no – we are elated. This is the very best bit of the rehabilitation process, and means we have been truly successful. And we will be able to track their progress, even if they visit nearby Bhutan, as we fit them with satellite collars which will keep us in touch with their movements once they venture farther afield.

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