Malaysia: Orphaned elephant calf Joe doing well

Stephanie Lee The Star 10 Jul 13;

Baby Joe being given a bath by his caretaker Augustine at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: Baby elephant Joe, the sole survivor of a poisoning that killed a herd of 14 Borneo pygmy elephants, is out of the woods.

The calf has gained weight and is now socialising with other elephants at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park here.

“He is very healthy and has gained over 100kg in the past few months, from 90kg when we rescued him, to almost 200kg now,” said Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan.

He said Joe, who is also called Kejora by some here, had even made friends with another rescued animal, four-year-old elephant Pikang, which was brought to the zoo after it was found with half its trunk missing during a wildlife operation in Lahad Datu six months ago.

Dr Sen said the animal was believed to have been injured when its trunk was caught in an old trap.

The story of Joe caught international attention after he was photographed nuzzling his lifeless mother at the Gunung Rara forest reserve, about 140km from Tawau, on Jan 25.

Dr Sen said investigations into the elephant poisoning incident were still ongoing although the authorities now know what poison was used to kill the animals.

“However, we are still unable to identify who the culprits are.”

Dr Sen also said Joe could spend his whole life as a permanent resident of the zoo because he was now used to being around humans.

Nevertheless, Joe was a very happy elephant, he said.

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