Emergency Missions

Since commencing our mobile clinics back in 2006, we have also responded to many emergency callouts, travelling into the field we assist mahouts with elephants that are seriously ill or injured, or perhaps more prominently situations of musth.

Musth is a periodic condition in male elephants when a large rise in reproductive hormones causes the elephant to become highly aggressive. An elephant in the state musth is extremely dangerous to both people and other elephants, so much so it is not uncommon for an elephant to kill its mahout during musth.

During the period of musth, captive elephants should be kept alone and chained to avoid accidents. However as less sons follow in their mahout father's footsteps generations of musth management is lost, young men with little elephant experience instead taking up the vocation of mahoutship are unable to recognise the onset of musth in their animal.

In extreme cases of musth, our veterinarians provide technical assistance to our government counterparts to sedate the animal using a dart gun. This needs to be completed with complete proficiency, the dart gun loaded with the correct amount of sedative. Too much and the animal might die, too little and the dart will anger the elephant further, antagonising the situation and endangering all involved. Once effectively sedated the elephant is moved and kept in a place of safety.

The average number of emergency missions conducted by ElefantAsia is approximately 20 per annum. We also conduct regular musth management workshops to assist less-experienced mahouts to better understand and recognise signs of onset musth.