Published on the 19th of March, 2016
Towards the end of June last year we received an orphaned elephant whose injuries were so severe that they were hard to even look at. There was a global outpouring of empathy for this tragic little elephant, who suffered so terribly at the hands of humans. We named him Simotua, and not only did he have to suffer the immense emotional trauma of losing his mother and elephant family, but he also had to endure unbelievable physical agony due to the severity of his injuries – a spear wound that left a gaping hole deep into his forehead and a snare that had cut through the flesh and exposed the bone on his right front leg. But Simotua was a very brave little elephant, who stoically understood that the daily treatment of his wounds had to be if he was to heal.
With the passing of the days, and months we were cautiously optimistic about his recovery – the spear wound healed, but sadly his injured leg remained a real challenge due to poor circulation as the scar tissue became a tourniquet, causing the leg to swell, seeping plasma from the tissue and becoming very painful. The Vet suggested poultices of Epsom Salts and Bran, which helped reduce the swelling, but which could not permanently relieve the situation. Any further operation ran the risk of only increasing the problem with the risk of infection a grave concern. To begin with it looked like Simotua was well on his way to a full recovery as his wounds healed and his strength increased. Simotua then took a turn for the worse a few months ago, and we have been struggling with him ever since with his body condition mysteriously deteriorating. Despite multiple tests, treatments and diet change Simotua’s condition continued to worsen. Of course living in pain takes its toll on general health, inhibiting appetite and resulting in a steady loss of body condition too and recently things began to accelerate. Towards the end he become too weak to even stand unaided.
It was unbearably painful to witness the suffering of this brave little elephant, with the sinking feeling that we were losing the struggle. Tragically, having tried everything to save Simotua, we lost the battle and he died in the late afternoon of the l6th March. His passing is particularly tragic given how far we had come. We do however take a vestige of comfort under such circumstances knowing that at least he died surrounded by the love of his human family, who were with him throughout. Rest in peace Simotua. It was a privilege to know and love you, and you will be sorely missed by all your elephant peers, and also by your adopted human family and your foster-parents who have followed your progress and through their support, empowered us to leave no stone unturned in the struggle to try and save your life.