Elephant Calf Dies a Day After Villagers Take Selfies With Him (Video)

Oh yes, prepare yourself—it’s another animal selfie death story. This one happened near India’s Omkar Forest Range in the Bandipur Forest Reserve. This time a baby elephant was the unfortunate victim of human stupidity.


Two adult elephants and a young calf wandered near the village of Kurubarahandi, India, in search of food. Their presence caused much excitement, with villagers shouting, waving sticks and making noise to drive the group away.

Villagers become animated when elephants approach because the gentle giants tend to destroy their rice paddies and eat their crops. When that happens, the farmers are often left with nothing. Farmers see it as a matter of survival.

When the villagers’ ruckus began, the adults got the message and moved away. The eight-month-old calf, however, wasn’t so lucky. He became separated from his mother in the confusion.

He began to cry while a mob of sightseers and villagers pulled out their mobile phones. The young elephant soon became the object of excited selfie-takers who surrounded him. He couldn’t get away to find his mother. The poor baby also apparently was injured, making him too weak to catch up with his adult companions.

Eventually, Indian forestry officials arrived and took charge of the calf. He was so upset they had to take him to a veterinarian. The vet bottle-fed the calf and gave him glucose. Forestry officials intended to take the calf back to the spot where he was separated from his mother as soon as he was well enough to return.

Sadly, despite the medical care, the poor calf died a few hours later. All that stress was apparently too much for the little guy. His mother returned to the village to look for him while he was with the veterinarian. Not finding him, she left and did not return.

We know elephants mourn their dead. Can you imagine the sadness this mother felt, knowing her baby was nowhere to be found? Can you imagine the fear that little calf experienced as loud humans surrounded him, snapping pictures and laughing?

Did those people crowding around the calf care that they were making the poor thing afraid? No, of course not. They just wanted their precious photos. They were looking for a good time.

The fact that it was at the expense of an innocent baby seems not to have entered their minds at all. And since he didn’t die at the scene, it’s not even clear if they know they are responsible for the little elephant’s demise.

I’d hoped 2018 might be a year without any horrific animal selfie stories. Unfortunately, my hope was regrettably short-lived. Here’s a resolution for the rest of the year—leave the animals alone.

Those animals are not there to give you an interesting selfie. Animal selfies need to stop being a “thing.” Let’s make animal protection our mantra from here on out.

RELATED STORIES

Tourists, Please Put the Camera Away: Wild Animals Are Suffering for Your Selfies

Why People Keep Taking Deadly Selfies With Animals

5 Times People Ruined Animals' Lives for a Selfie

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.