Spotlight India: rehabilitated elephant calf "Tinku" sighted over 750 days after release

Tinku in a remote area of Manas National Park in Assam, India.Just a few days after we saw a photo of a tiger we released back in 2011, we received another bit of exciting news from India regarding one of our rehabilitated elephants, "Tinku".

Our field biologist Anjan Sangma sighted and photographed Tinku in a remote area of Manas National Park in Assam, India.

Back in October of 2007, Tinku was rescued by staff from the Assam Forest Department after he fell into a tea garden drain. Tinku was a two-month-old calf when he arrived at the International Fund for Animal Welfare(IFAW) Wildlife Rescue Center in Kaziranga.

Our dedicated staff at the center bottle-fed Tinku, provided daily veterinary care and looked after his every need for over three years before he, and four other elephant calves, were moved to Manas National Park in February of 2011 and released back to the wild.

With this new sighting, we know that Tinku has survived over 750 days in the wild.

Back in early January we briefly sighted Tinku with another rehabilitated calf, Sikom.

This time he was sighted alone. 

Better news still, the calf was quite “aggressive towards the team and in fact moved away from the team in the southern direction,” according to Anjan.

He believes Tinku could have been with a wild herd, as there was one very close by (about 50 meters from where he was).

The field team observed Tinku’s behaviour for a while, took some photos and GPS coordinates, and ended the day’s monitoring efforts once it started getting dark.

This last phase of rehabilitation is likely the most challenging one. After several years of human-assisted care, Tinku is now left to its own devices to integrate a wild herd. From the sidelines we watch, we document, we learn and we celebrate these valuable milestones.


Thank you to all our supporters for giving Tinku this second chance at life in the wild. Consider a donation now to allow our international teams to continue their work.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy