Herd of elephants nurtures trunkless calf in Kerala's Vettilappara Oil Palm
The New Indian Express
November 19, 2023
For the past few months, a trunkless elephant calf has been captivating
commuters and tourists near Athirappilly, specifically at the Vettilapara
Oil Palm plantation along the Chalakkudy - Malakkapara road.
Initially spotted in a weakened state three months ago, the calf, part of a
nine-member wild elephant herd, has since been observed to be in good
health during its recent return to Vettilapara, astonishing local residents.
“The calf was initially spotted by a wildlife photographer on January 10,
2022. The mother elephant was observed feeding the calf with grass using
her trunk, raising concerns about the calf’s survival. However, during the
recent sighting, the calf appears healthy. The mother elephant continues to
breastfeed the calf and has been observed crushing the bark of oil palm,
providing it to the calf. Occasionally, the calf lifts the crushed bark
with its legs and consumes it,” said Rubin Lal, a local resident.
Vazhachal DFO R Lekshmi said two forest watchers have been deployed to
track the trunkless calf.
“There is no clarity on how it lost the trunk. A veterinarian is monitoring
the health of the calf. However, the herd is very protective and always
covers the calf.
It is around three years old but is very healthy. We haven’t noticed any
health issues. There may be issues in feeding when it grows up, but for
now, the herd is taking care of it,” she added.