The story of a very young baby elephant and her mother is proving a big hit for the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, which has posted The Elephant Diary: Observations of a lone female elephant with a newborn calf online.

Chandima Fernando, Ecologist and GIS Specialist, first heard about the new arrival near a village just bordering the Wasgamuwa National Park on December 1.

He writes: “This news elicited much excitement in the field house, and obviously the presence of the mother and calf attracted a lot of attention with villagers going to see them practically every day.

“Even though we advised people to leave the pair alone, unfortunately villagers did not heed the advice and kept on going to see them, so one day not surprisingly she had left the area.

Since then no one has seen them. I was a bit worried since she was on her own with a new born calf.” But it was not until a week later that Chaminda was able to get to the park—and to his amazement, came face-to-face with mother and baby.

“We guessed her age to be probably in the range of 45 to 50 years. As I observed her through the binoculars I notice that her body condition was not great – she looked gaunt with shoulder, pelvic girdles and ribs clearly visible even from a distance.

“From what we know the calf is about 10 days old now and seems to be about two feet in height. It was trying to keep up with the female and although its legs were not wobbly it looked very weak. The female reached the river and quenched her thirst.”

As Chaminda watched, she and her baby crossed the river and disappeared into the trees.

Read the full story here.

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