When Lek Chailert saw the baby elephant, she knew she had to do something – and quickly. The 3-month-old elephant was so thin and malnourished, you could count her ribs. If she didn’t get proper nutrition soon, she was going to die.
Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, was actually visiting another elephant orphanage in the neighboring country of Myanmar when she encountered the starving baby elephant.
While it’s unknown what happened to the baby elephant’s mom, or even how she ended up at the orphanage, the baby does have a name – Eyeyarmay.
Eyeyarmay isn’t the only elephant at this orphanage. Two others – a 7-month-old named Yuyu and a 4-month-old named Mary – also live there, according to Chailert’s Facebook post.
All three orphans will need special care, but Chailert seems particularly worried about Eyeyarmay.
“The baby requires direct care at this time and motherly accompaniment,” Chailert wrote on Facebook. “Baby nutrition … is very sensitive because their life at this stage is very fragile.”
In Myanmar, as well as other parts of Southeast Asia, every elephant counts. Asian elephants are currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Threats include habitat destruction, poaching and human-elephant conflict.
Saving Eyeyarmay’s life won’t be easy. What she really needs now is milk, but Chailert said it’s difficult to get elephant formula in Myanmar – and because the orphanage is new, it doesn’t have the funding to import the formula from another country.
Chailert said the keepers have resorted to feeding the baby cow milk, but this can cause dysentery and other health problems.
However, things are looking up for Eyeyarmay. Following Chailert’s Facebook post, hundreds of people have offered to help, and with everyone’s combined efforts, Eyeyarmay’s life might be saved.
Chailert is asking for monetary donations to help get elephant formula to the Myanmar orphanage.
“One box can help to save this elephant’s life,” Chailert wrote.