Baby elephants Rupa and Aashi were left without their families and ended up at a rescue center in India.
Panjit Basumatary, a vet at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Rescue Center tasked with treating the two youngest elephants in need, had to be creative to keep them calm.
When young elephants lose their moms, the trauma and stress can be terrible. Babies like Rupa and Aashi “can be extremely vulnerable because of high stress levels from the trauma of being separated from their mothers,” Clare Sterling, of IFAW said. Babies this young would usually be with their mothers constantly, feeding from them every few hours, and nestling against them for comfort.
That’s when Basumatary came up with a great idea: Getting these baby elephants cozy in leggings, socks, blankets and scarves.
“As well as treating the many animals which come into our center, I like to think about what else I can do to improve conditions for them and make them more comfortable,” Basumatary said, explaining that it is important to keep such tiny elephants warm.
“I thought that if I could invent something to stop their feet and legs getting cold from the floor it could make a difference,” Basumatary said.
“Some of my colleagues may have initially been skeptical of my invention,” he added. Indeed, the dressed up elephants are quite an unusual sight.
But this wasn’t the first time Basumatary got inventive with the animals he’s helping. In the past, he’s created better food and water dispensers for rescued gibbons and leopards.
As it turns out, the leggings, too, were a great success. “After a couple of days the elephants soon got used to wearing their socks and boots at night and quickly I saw a difference with them being much warmer and content,” Basumatary said.
“Now it is just normal for them to let us get them dressed in their warm layers before going to bed.”
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