"> Wildlife Ambulance Saves Stranded Elephant - International Elephant Project

Wildlife Ambulance Saves Stranded Elephant

Our Wildlife Ambulance team, in collaboration with local government, ensured the rescue of a baby calf in Aceh Tengah who had ingested harmful fertiliser.

"Resam Berume di Aceh Tengah" by Reny Fharina is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


In a recent operation, the Wildlife Ambulance, in partnership with the Aceh Department of Natural Resources, responded to a distress call concerning an abandoned, sick baby elephant in Aceh Tengah regency in Sumatra. The situation unfolded when a group of wild elephants ventured into agricultural lands, inadvertently ingesting fertilisers left behind during a raid on crops and a small hut.

While the adults seemed to tolerate the fertiliser, the consequences were dire for a young calf. Consuming it led to severe gastrointestinal issues, while an attempt to rub its eye resulted in painful eye conditions, leaving the young elephant blind and disoriented.

Left behind by its herd and unable to navigate its surroundings, the calf's plight came to light when concerned locals reached out. With urgency, the ambulance team mobilised, providing critical care on-site. The Wildlife Ambulance administered IV and rectal fluid therapy, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory treatments, and specialised eye care, striving to stabilise the young elephant's condition.

Despite tireless efforts, it became evident that the calf couldn't survive alone or reintegrate with its herd. A decision was made to evacuate the calf to the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) Saree for further treatment and care. Under the supervision of Wildlife Ambulance veterinarians, the journey to ECC Saree commenced, giving the baby elephant the best chance of survival.

This rescue operation underscores the vital role of the Wildlife Ambulance in providing emergency medical assistance to wildlife in distress. It also highlights the ongoing challenges of human-wildlife conflict and the importance of conservation efforts to protect vulnerable species like the Sumatran elephant.


The Wildlife Ambulance, funded in part by International Elephant Project donors, supports the conservation of Critically Endangered Sumatran elephants. Based at Syiah Kuala University, it provides essential veterinary services, including translocation, injury treatment, and disease surveillance.

Managed by International Elephant Project veterinarian Dr. Christopher Stremme, it operates across Aceh and Sumatra.

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