Directors of the National Park in Eastern Chad, they had heard rumors of a massacre of elephants. They were about 300 miles away from the massacre zone so I was about 75 miles away, and they asked me if I could fly over there and see if the reports were true be tracked to, elephant tracks into the area, and then found the massacre zone, just piles of bones that were left, there’s the meat that’s been extracted, there were large pools of blood on the ground, that you can still see from so many animals and we were able to confirm that about a 100 animals had had been massacred in that site. For so many elephants to go down, you know you’d see 30 animals in a group that had obviously got down together, had to be modern weapons to take them down that quickly. So machine guns did that kind of thing? Absolutely. [0.53] It just got retching, when you see something of that extent, you know whether its in a war when humans are taken down or animals are taken down, its still just a sinking feeling in your stomach that is terrible. But you did hear that one elephant might have survived? [1:11] And the director of wildlife for Chad contacting me and said there were rumors of a baby elephant that had survived, but the rumors that were coming in of this elephant were from 100 miles apart in different villages. [1:25] And so it was difficult to confirm and it took a couple more days to actually get solid information as to the location of the baby elephant. What happened when you found the elephant? [1:36] It was tied up to a tree where it had been for the last 3 to 4 days, it was getting weak but also very angry because it had been just tied up to the tree again and kids would come by and throw at it some sticks and rocks, so when I initially approached it, it was trying to bite, it was raising its trunk it was trying to charge a little bit, but I just kept slowly sane with it and mixed up some formula that we had with us to feed it and within the course of about 30 minutes, it was at least accepting of me and we were able to load it into a vehicle and then take it back to the “air stream”?. [2:10] And then you had to get it into the plane and I’m guessing the plane’s not very big? [2:13] It was a small 4 seater aircraft. And how big was the elephant? The elephant was, somewhere in the vicinity of about 350 pounds, so it was quite the chore and when I first saw the elephant in fact I was a little concerned because the rumors we had was that it was much smaller, then in fact it was about a 9 month old baby elephant. So, we lured it in close to the aircraft [2:37] with a milk bottle and finally we were able to lift it in with several guys there and just lifted into the plane and it was a tight fit. And did the elephant play any part in flying the plane, it must’ve been difficult to control it? An animal that size you could actually feel its weight shifting in the aircraft and we had some restraining straps so it couldn’t go all the way to the back because otherwise it would you out of our controllable range, but he was quite interested in playing with my control a bit and at some point he would put his trunk forward and feel my hands and touch the controls a bit and feel my face, it was a bit of a distraction but at the same time a very unique experience. Were you able to look after the baby elephant once you got it back to your compound? Once we got back to our base of course the challenge was to unload the elephant, and we essentially took it out to the bush we had in a natural habitat that there is within our compound and the next 10 days it was literally 24 hour care between my wife and myself. But unfortunately I heard that the elephant sadly died in the end? It was 8 days post massacre that we finally reached him, and he had become quite weakened by being away from it’s mother for that long, but also he had quite a severe infection on his neck from the rope that he was tied to the tree with, but also the main factor is he had received some cow’s milk from some good intention people but cow’s milk is actually quite toxic to a baby elephant, along with the dramatic experience that he had been through, to see his whole family massacred, and with everything compounded unfortunately he did not survive. You know we had, pulled out all the stops, we had done everything possible, taken care of a baby starving elephant is very similar to taken care of starving human babies, that protocols the procedures very similar. Did you give him a name? We named him Max, while we were riding in the pick up, back to the aircraft, because he was taking everything we were muster to keep him in the back of this pick up over the bouncy roads and of course maxing out the weight of our airplane for take off and everything so he effectually got called Max.
Finnish short translation:
Norsuja oltiin ammuttu ja surmattu Chadissa, Afrikassa. Satojen norsujen lihat oli irrotettu luistaan ja ne olivat surmattu tuliaseilla. Huhut olivat levinneet pienen vauvanorsun selviytymisestä, jota lähdettiin pelastamaan. Pelastusjoukut saapuivat erittäin pienellä lentokoneella hakemaan vauvanorsua, joka oli köydellä kiinni puussa. Sen niska oli pahasti vaurioittunut ja norsulla oli vakava infektio. He kuitenkin saivat norsun mahtumaan lentokoneen perästä, ja pitivät sitä siellä lennon ajan. Heidän piti kuitenkin pitää norsua paikallaan, koska sen painosta johtuen lentokonetta oli vaikea lentää. Pelastajat antoivat lentokoneessa norsulle nimen Max, johtuen siitä että hän nimenomaan vei maximaalisen tilan koneen sisällä, jolloin kone heilui lentäessä ja tilaa koneen sisällä ei juurikaan riittänyt kuin muutamalle henkilölle. Kun norsu oli saatu tukikohtaan hoidettavaksi, 10 päivän ajan amerikkalainen ja hänen vaimonsa hoitivat sitä, kunnes norsu kuoli saamiinsa vammoihin ja traumaattisten kokemusten seuraamuksena.