In the subtropical rainforests of Malaysia 14 Pygmy Elephants were found dead from poisoning. Among them, a 3 month old baby elephant was found nuzzling his dead mother’s body, trying to revive her. He was taken in by rescuers and is now residing in the Lok Kawi zoo near Kota Kinabalu.
Joe has received round the clock care, including being fed a special formula every 2 hours. He has formed a close bond with his keeper, who is almost a surrogate mom for the infant. He says Joe loves to suckle people’s’ thumbs just like a human baby, and despises bath time.
The orphan is active and playful, but it is too soon to know if he will make it. He was malnourished when found, and it is unclear how much poisoned milk he consumed. If Joe survives, he will stay at Lok Kawi along with 16 other orphans who would become his new family.
If he wouldn’t have been found, Joe would have remained at his mother’s side and died of starvation.
There is an ongoing investigation into the elephants’ poisoning, it is currently thought to be from bait laid out to deter “pests” from nearby palm oil fields.