Elephants are known to be among the world’s most intelligent creatures, but there’s a narrative that claims they’re also among the wisest.
Staff at the Bumi Hills Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe were taken aback on Saturday when they discovered a wild bull elephant had hobbled in from the surrounding jungle to stand guard outside a residence. Shortly after, Nick Milne, the manager of the lodge’s wildlife conservation foundation, arrived to evaluate the situation.
“Elephants are present in the region, however, they are largely cows and calves. It is unheard of for a bull to approach a residence “Milne informed The Dodo about it. “So I went to investigate, and it appeared that he was suffering from a bad illness. He couldn’t move around very well.”
Because Bumi Hills’ in-house veterinarian was away for the weekend, Milne contacted a specialist around 200 miles away who offered to fly in to assist. Despite the fact that medical help was six hours away, the elephant lingered close, satisfying his thirst with water handed to him in a bucket.
“Generally, elephants we see are very aggressive or skittish. Obviously, they can get shot by hunters, so that behavior is natural,” said Milne. “This elephant was very relaxed and very calm. He was unconcerned about us getting close.”
Milne began to suspect that this animal’s appearance outside the house was more than just coincidence.
Following the elephant’s tranquilization, the rescue crew noticed a serious wound on his shoulder, which Milne believes was caused by a poacher’s gunshot. Unfortunately, they were unable to locate any shell bits within, therefore the actual reason is unknown.
Despite the fact that the wound was nearly a month old, it was not terribly infected, and the vet was able to treat it in about an hour.
Although it’s unclear if the wound was inflicted by humans, Milne saw two healed bullet holes in one of the animal’s ears, indicating that he had survived a previous assassination attempt.
“There’s a lot of poaching in the region,” Milne remarked. “Poaching is causing a significant loss of elephants. This is a significant problem.”
Before reversing the tranquilizer’s effects, rescuers fitted the elephant with a radio collar so they could follow his movements while he recovered.
It’s still too early to tell if the elephant, who has since been named Ben, will make a complete recovery, though Milne is optimistic. On Tuesday, Ben was seen still on the grounds of Bumi Hills, eating and drinking normally. Best of all, his limp appeared to be improving, and the wound was healing well.
Milne has saved a number of injured animals, but the method in which Ben appears to have rescued himself raises more concerns than it answers.
“‘Did this elephant stroll all the way here with this wounded leg by chance, or did he come asking for assistance?’ you could wonder.
‘We’ll never know for sure, but elephants are far more complex than we realize,’ says the author “he stated “It’s an unusual situation, but we’re grateful that we were able to help.”