By Mark Hodge @mrhodgey

AN INJURED baby elephant is saved by a heroic rescue team after being caught in on a poacher's snare and attacked with a spear

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Videographer / Director: THE DSWT
Producer: Mark Hodge, Chloe Browne
Editor: Sonia Estal

The team remove the deadly poacher's snare which was wrapped around the elephant's leg

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) was called to save the orphaned animal, named Simotua, in June, after he had been left to die in Kenya's 15,000 acre Rumuruti Forest.

 The one year old elephant was suffering from a large spear wound to his skull and had a deadly snare wrapped around his leg – both of which were potentially life-threatening

Helping hands: The rescue team acted quickly to save Simotua

The calf was driven to the local airstrip where he was met by an expert mobile veterinary team who assessed his injuries before a one-hour-long flight.

Simotua was then flown 230km to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi National Park where he received round the clock medical treatment.

The baby animal was attacked by ivory poachers who left him for dead

Rob Brandford is the Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK).

He said: “We believe Simotua was attacked by ivory poachers - the snare had cut through the skin and flesh on his leg, cutting down to the bone, which would have made any movement extremely painful and meant he could not walk far for food or water.

The fragile baby elephant quickly made new friends at the orphanage

“Without action, he would have quickly starved to death or infection would have set into his wounds, causing a prolonged and painful death.

“Our team did their best to comfort him through out the process and ensured his wounds were cleaned and treated, packed with green clay, and antibiotics were administered.”

Simotua's wounds were life-threatening if they had been left unattended
On the mend: Simotua pictured at the start of his recovery

Rob insists that Simotua is making a speedy recovery and has made some new friends at the orphanage.

He said: “Two weeks after his rescue, his wound had healed enough to let him venture out of his stockade and walk throughout the forest for the first time, as he gingerly put weight on his damaged leg.

Despite his horrific injuries Simotua responded well to treatment and even made some new friends

“He continues to thrive alongside the other infant elephant orphans who are crucial to his healing process - their soft touches with their trunks reassure Simotua that he is in a place of safety.

“More than 90 orphaned elephants that we have rescued are now living a full life back in the wild, and we are confident that Simotua can join them in a few years when he is fully grown.”

Vets applied green clay to both his wounds ensuring that they would not become infected

Simotua's attack happened as a result of the illegal ivory trade, which is driven by demand in Asia, and results in an elephant being killed every 15 minutes in Africa.

Charity founder Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick would like to use World Elephant Day to highlight this malignant problem which blights one of the planet's gentle giants.

Despite the horrendous ordeal, the one-year-old elephant is expected to make a full recovery

She said: “We are at crossroads for the future of wild elephants. We witness the terrible impact of the ivory trade in our work every day, but man-made extinction cannot be the end of this iconic species.

“As the ivory trade continues to fuel more senseless deaths of these beautiful animals, ultimately, their loss will have an impact on each and every one of us.”

To contribute to this wonderful cause, go to sheldrickwildlifetrust.org, or send cheques or postal orders to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, 2nd Floor, 3 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8BL.