Rescuers track down injured wild elephant

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The injured elephant (C) retrieved from Yok Don National Park in Vietnam's Central Highlands on May 14 

A week after first sighting a wild elephant ensnared by two traps one on its foot and another on its trunk rescuers were able to retrieve the animal on May 14 from a protected forest in Dak Lak Province.

They used tamed elephants to rope the young injured male elephant around its neck and tow to it to station in Yok Don National Park.

The wild elephant was first spotted in a protected forest within Yok Don National Park on May 7, at which time park rangers said it must have been victimized by the traps several days earlier because its wounds had already become infected.

By the time it was captured near the Serepok Border Gate (leading to Cambodia), the injured elephant had shed itself of the encumbering traps and had traversed dozens of kilometers. The animal's trunk had a deep gash; its right foot had also sustained a serious injury.

A rescuer said the elephant is about five-years-old, weighs 700 kilograms, with a pair of tusks which measure 30 centimeters each.

Huynh Trung Luan, director of the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center, said veterinarians from Ho Chi Minh City may anesthetize the animal if its injuries require surgery.

Upon first finding the elephant, Yok Don National Park and the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center brought two tamed elephants to the site, along with four mahouts (elephant keepers), veterinarians and food.

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However, they had to bring in two more tamed elephants and more mahouts to search for the wild elephant, which managed to escape their sights within the dense forest.

A study conducted by Tay Nguyen University in 2011, the latest survey of Vietnam's elephant population, estimated that there were between 83 and 100 wild elephants in 2009.

Meanwhile there were 82 captive elephants in 2011, down from 600 in 1980, the survey found.

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