Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eddy is struggling

This chapter was supposed to be about girls and mud,  but that was last week and well, this, is this week, so I'm going to real time.
Off the top,  there has been a touching outpouring of good wishes for Eddy, thank you from all of us to all of you.  Surprising us,  were offers of money. What can we say but thanks, followed very quickly by "no thanks".  We are a small group, none of us rich, doing this because it's the right thing to do, and so far it hasn't put any of us into overdraft.  This is a story being written simply because we all find it powerful, captivating, life changing, its most definitely not about the cash.
Eddy is struggling, noticeably thinner, as you can see.

We're having a hell of a time getting enough nourishment into him. This seems to be a universal problem with hand caring for very young elephants. We think  the biggest problem is the digestive track damage that the initial formula containing beef milk fats inflicted.  If only the first vet we spoke to had said;
 "beats the @#$% out of me what you feed 'em, call this guy he knows"
As a result Eddy has had a bad case of diarrhea, his system simply couldn't process what we were feeding him. To be blunt following a doctors suggestion we poisoned him. We tried a number of variants all without animal fats all with limited success.  At best we've been getting 4 to 5 liters of nourishment a day into him and about the same in water.  In the wild Eddy would get at minimum 10% of his body weight a day in milk from mom, we're 50% short of where we need to be, and that puts Eddy on a downhill slide.  Here's part of our effort to feed Eddy.

While one part of our effort has been to stabilize Eddy there has been a parallel effort trying  to find a group of elephants with lactating mothers that might adopt Eddy. 70kms from Omaruru is the fantastic Erindi Game Reserve,  they have lactating mothers, they were initially interested but ultimately declined to try and integrate Eddy into their herd, mostly based on the real concern that 10 years from now he will be a problem animal.  It's a good decision on their part, bad for Eddy, but in context it was well thought out and we have no hard feelings.  There have been a number of other facilities of various sizes and capabilities step forward willing to take Eddy "off our hands".  When we investigated these other options we concluded that none of them were ideal.  With the possible exception of the Knysna Elephant Park Lodge, but the prospects of getting Eddy a passport and transporting him the best part of 2000kms seems daunting.
Paul from Erindi put us in touch with Greg at the Knysna Elephant Park who I spoke to at length this morning. The news was not good, Greg then had Lisette phone me back with a specific set of instructions.  Lisette and Greg were hugely helpful and we are grateful to them for their assistance. In fact without it, I don't think Eddy would have made it through today.

We had to get Eddy on a IV drip immediately and force at least 6 liters of fluids into him.  Then we had to stop all food and back up to a solution designed to restore the good bugs in his gut and try and get his GI track working again. Only then could we start with S26 the correct fomula.

I sent Greg and Lisette pictures of Eddy and their reply has broken our hearts, Eddy is nowhere near as old as we thought, likely no more than 6 weeks,  at 6 months his chances were poor at 6 weeks I don't even want to think of his odds.

Eddy caught a break this morning when Betsy Fox and Dr. Lionel Depoisier arrived to assist us, Betsy runs Elephant Human Relations Aid which is an organization designed to help desert elephants and humans coexist. Lionel is a MD volunteering in Namibia on animal related efforts. Dr. Lionel was able to put the IV into Eddy's ear and get the fluids started.

Here are two photos the first of Eddy after getting hooked up by Dr. Lionel and Betsy, the second Eddy is sleeping getting the liquid of life.

I'm devestated that my best intentions have put this little guys life at the edge of the abyss. I've looked into Eddys eyes every day for the last two weeks, they are alive, there is a sentient being in there, thinking and afraid, he is trusting in us to save him and I fear we are failing him, not because we aren't trying but because we didnt get the right information fast enough. 

Please say a prayer, light a candle or incense, we need a bucket full of mojo and a huge tailwind our way to help Eddy get back on his feet so we can start again to save his life.

More as I can.



  1. Have you tried young coconut juice? it was used as I.V. fluid during WW11. please google Young Coconut Juice, I.V fluid, rehydration. Good luck for baby Eddy.

  2. oh god, you guys are breaking my heart too. we're cheering for Eddie and you. Keep on, keeping on!

  3. Shedding a few tears and wishing you well in your herculean endeavours from Canada

  4. Such a sad story. Glad you are all so caring. Hope all goes well for Eddy.

  5. Best of luck to you, you are doing a wonderful thing. Hoping for the best for Eddie. Now I just need to find the tissues!

  6. Thank you very much for all your kind words, its 5AM and I am off to the coast to try and buy some medication we can't get here.

  7. Thanks Chris and the team for your efforts to save Eddy. I really hope he gets well soon. Please keep us updated on his progress. Lord, please touch Eddie today.

  8. Hold on Eddy! You can survive little guy.

    I second the coconut water motion, as someone who has digestive problems of her own, I know it's easily absorbed and full of electrolytes. Hopefully the same benefits would translate to elephants.