The Orphans

Remembering Agam. The precious orphan of Aceh despite the support never pulled through.

The orphans of the elepghants of Sumatra are unfortunately the result of the issues we as humans create. Elephants naturally travel in large herds and the infants will feed from the mother for sometimes up to two years or more prior to moving full time onto solid foods. A baby elephant will become separated and is (unfortunately often) orphaned for many reasons in Sumatra.

1. From falling into the many unused wells and unable to escape, the herd will move on leaving the baby with just pure luck of being found by locals and brought back to the nearest elephant conservation centers to be cared for.

2. Herds will often wander into nearby oil palm plantations. Elephants and any other wildlife for that matter are considered PESTS by the locals and often poisoned fruit is left for the elephants to consume and within a short period will die. In the case of infant elephants that are not yet on solid foods they will be left next to their non responsive family whaling for them to wake up. Again it is pure luck if these orphans are discovered and brought back to the nearest elephant conservation center.

3. Inside all protected forests on the island of Sumatra there are many battles to save all endangered species. Forest police and patrols alike carrying out surveys checking for illegal activity and often coming across snares that are left for tigers or sun bears. Sometimes these snares inadvertently capture baby elephants. Again it is the case where the family herd will move on if the baby cannot be released from such an awful trap. Again with any luck these babies are discovered and cared for by the nearest elephant conservation center.

It is hard to know how many orphans there are every year within the forests of Sumatra. We only know of the documented ones that are discovered by chance. Sometimes these stories have a happy ending and sometimes they do not. But we as humans must keep fighting and righting the wrongs that we have created.



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Tail Bite

Baby Rosa had her tail bitten by one of the older males so she needed to have it looked at and eventually the tip of her tail was amputated. This might not look ideal but this is exactly how things work in Indonesia in order to properly treat elephants their need to be restrained, especially the juveniles. 

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My Favourite Snack

When not receiving his milk supplement Agam’s favourite was a piece of corn to try to rip apart and eat. All part of the learning curve to being a baby elephant.

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Check Up!

Every so often the elephants of all the camps throughout Sumatra get their health checks done. Time to check for any signs of problems and the elephants are well trained to follow the commands of their handlers so they can carry out any checks from teeth through to ultrasound scans. The population is decreasing so to prevent any outbreaks of disease that could further threaten the species it is important to do this regularly.

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  • Name: Sadat
  • Born: 1964
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: The Elphant Conservation Center, Saree, Aceh Sumatra.

Sadat lives in the Elephant Conservation Center in Saree, Aceh, Sumatra. He came to the centre in 1989. He is now 50 years old and remains in the captive elephant program in the conservation centre.

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