Baby elephant Paichit needs your help

By Murray Munro

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An orphaned baby

Paichit was found alone and starving on a palm oil plantation a month ago. His mother had been shot dead and the rest of his herd fled, leaving little Paichit behind to fend for himself. He is only one year old.

Small, helpless and abandoned. He needs your help.

The situation

Let us set the scene, we are in Indonesia, Banda Aceh. Paichit is currently residing at Saree Elephant Camp run by BKSDA. They are doing the best they can by him but it’s not enough. He is being fed a supplement mixture, bananas, sugar cane and other fruit. He needs more nutrients in order to grow and develop into a healthy young elephant. Elephants are supplemented by their mother’s milk until at least the age of three. Fruits and grasses will satiate his appetite but have little nutritional value to this young bull. He needs a high protein formula in order to continue to grow and develop at a healthy rate. We have been spending time with Paichit and he has such spirit and character. He is a determined little guy and we are committed to improving his situation for the better, permanently.

Following the success of the Save Bona Campaign we have returned to Indonesia to offer assistance to this little boy. Our aim is to not only see him survive through this critical period but thrive into adulthood. We would love to see him return to the wild one day where he belongs, but firstly we will work with BKSDA, his mahouts and his veterinary team to provide him with medicine, food and nutrients and safe environment that caters to all his needs.

Here’s what we've done so far

We have constructed a safe and secure chain free enclosure for Paichit. He spends much of his day out grazing with his mahout by his side. The enclosure is a really significant part of Paichit’s emotional recovery. Knowing that he is protected in an habitat that caters for his every need will help him feel comfortable enough to develop a routine. Since his arrival at the camp he has had little sense of routine. With a new diet, new feeding regime and new enclosure now in place Paichit will begin to feel more permanent and be able to relax in his new, safe, home. As Paichit grows we will need to expand his enclosure, make it more age appropriate with the addition of ever complex and creative enrichment material, until such a point that he is self-sufficient enough to spend the majority of his time in the jungle.

We have purchased the piping and water tank for the drinking station we intend to construct in the coming weeks. We will create a drinking station in Paichit’s enclosure and another water station that will be accessible by all the elephants at the camp.

We have identified an Aunty for Paichit, social interaction will be key, not only to his development but his emotional wellbeing.

What we are doing about it

A month’s supply specialist milk powder that provides the specific nutrients for a baby elephant has been delivered. Baby elephants are supplemented by mothers milk until at least three years old. The critical period for Paichit’s survival isn’t over, for the next 2-3 years we will support Paichit with everything he needs. The road won’t be easy for this little boy but with your support we can ensure that veterinary care, specialist food and chain free habitats can be provided for him. Just as with humans, as Paichit grows his tastes will change and his appetite increase. We will ensure that his diet is healthy and enjoyable for him as he grows.

In order to ensure a constant supply of the milk powder we must go to Singapore to collect it in person. Singapore, where the specialist nutrient mix is produced is also home to a series of high quality veterinary medicine suppliers who we will liaise with and purchase medicine from if Paichit should need. Delivery of the supplement to the elephant camp by post is a risk we are not prepared to take; tight regulation on importation means that our package could very easily ‘disappear’ despite it being perfectly legal to bring the supplement into Indonesia. The only way to ensure safe and guaranteed delivery of the milk powder is if we collect and deliver it ourselves. This will mean a short flight to Singapore every few months. The team are funding themselves throughout their time with Paichit but with our personal income on hold we hope that you understand our need to raise funds for these trips to Singapore.

Paichit is so important to us, but so are the mahouts at the elephant camp. They have worked so hard to get Paichit to where he is now and will continue to do so. They tell us every day how much they love him, you can see why! We would also like to give something back to them. Although their wage is fair, there is little money left at the end of the month for themselves, once they have fed their families and sent their children to school. Little things like matching t-shirts and day packs will give them a sense of identity and pride in their work that will encourage them to continue to strive to do the best by their elephants. The elephant camp itself is run down. By making small improvements to the working environment for the mahouts we will be able empower them to be even more pro-active in the care of their elephants.

Paichit’s story is harrowing but with your continued support we can turn his life around and give this gorgeous baby elephant the prosperous and fulfilling life that he so very much deserves.

You can join us

Why we need your help. Rescuing and rearing a baby elephant is a challenge; we vow not to give up on Paichit. We need your help to purchase high-protein milk powder and food for him. His ribs are still visible and his skin is dry. We know from experience that within weeks of being on a high-protein, high-nutrient diet he will gain weight and his skin condition will improve. He will have more energy to explore, learn and be the cheeky baby boy he really is. In addition to food and sustenance we intend to build a chain free enclosure for him, install pipework that will supply him with fresh drinking water and design and create enrichment activities for him to keep him active and playful. As he grows we will support him in whatever way he needs, vet care, medicine, positive reinforcement training and we want to have a fund ready to utilise when that time comes. In return for your donations we will keep you well informed about his progress, post videos and photos on social media for you to enjoy too. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Paichit’s story.

Please share this crowdfunding project on your social media to help us spread the word far and wide and secure a safe and prosperous future for this beautiful little elephant.

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Team Members

Murray Munro

Amanda French

Molly Birchmore