Baby elephant injured from animal snare gets hydrotherapy treatment

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A five-month-old baby elephant took a tentative dip in a swimming pool in Thailand on Thursday, January 5th as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured foot.

Baby Fah Jam's front left leg was caught in a trap set by villagers in Chanthaburi, 155 miles southeast of the Thai capital Bangkok, in November.

Fah Jam was then looked after Pattaya's Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, a private own tourist attraction outside Bangkok. There, other elephants were able to nurse her and help her survive.

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Baby elephant gets hydrotherapy treatment

TOPSHOT - Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' rests her head on the shoulder of one of her guardians during a short break in a hydrotherapy session at a local clinic in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' tries to stay afloat at the beginning of a hydrotherapy session at a local veterinary clinic in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Thai veterinarian Padet Siridumrong (L) treats the wounds of Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, after a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Five-month-old baby elephant Fah Jam swims during a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, is pictured in her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, receives help from handlers as she arrives for a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' reaches out with her trunk from her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden tourist park before she was taken to a local veterinary clinic for a hydrotherapy session in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, receives help from handlers as she arrives for a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, is pictured in her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand, January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, is pictured in her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, receives help from handlers as she arrives for a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

A handler feeds Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, in her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Thai veterinarian Padet Siridumrong (L) treats the wounds of Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, after a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' reaches out with her trunk to the hand of one of her handlers at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden tourist park in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, plays with a handler at her enclosure at the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Handlers wash Fah Jam, a five-month-old baby elephant, before a hydrotherapy treatment as part of a lengthy rehabilitation process to heal her injured front left foot at a rehabilitation center in Pattaya, Thailand January 5, 2017. The baby elephant was injured at three months old when she got stuck in an animal snare put up by villagers to prevent elephant intrusions in Chanthaburi province. The hydrotherapy is thought to help her exercise her bicep muscles and help her walk again as she has been refusing to stand on all four legs.

(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' stands next to her guardians after she was showered clean before being lowered into a pool for a hydrotherapy session at a local clinic in Chonburi province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is kept afloat by a harness during a hydrotherapy session at a local veterinary clinic in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' stands on her hind legs in her corral at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden park in Chonburi on January 5, 2017 before she is taken to a veterinary clinic for a hydrotherapy session. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' walks with the help of a boot on her injured leg at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden tourist park in Chonburi Province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' receives assistance from her guardians during a hydrotherapy session at a local clinic in Chonburi province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Six month-old baby elephant 'Clear Sky' gets splashed with water as she is cleaned before being lowered into a pool for a hydrotherapy session at a local clinic in Chonburi province on January 5, 2017. After losing part of her left foot in a snare in Thailand, baby elephant 'Clear Sky' is now learning to walk again -- in water. The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital in Chonburi province, a few hours from Bangkok. The goal is to strengthen the withered muscles in her front leg, which was wounded three months ago in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

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But though the wound and her health improved significantly, she refused to put any weight on her injured leg.

Veterinarian Padet Siridumrong said Fah Jam was now showing signs of improvement following a second round of water-based exercises known as hydrotherapy.

"By her fourth or fifth sessions she will enjoy swimming more. She's just a baby elephant, that's why she's a bit scared at first but, by nature, elephants love the water," Padet said.

The treatment, which hopes to ensure she doesn't have to rely on a prosthetic leg, could take up to two months, he added.

The elephant is Thailand's national animal and popular with foreign tourists who are offered elephant jungle treks or rides around ancient ruins and temples. Animal rights groups have criticized the use of elephants in the tourism industry, arguing that the animals could be mistreated.

There are some 3,700 elephants left in the wild in Thailand and up to 4,000 domesticated elephants, according to EleAid, a U.K.-based organization that works for the conservation of the Asian elephant.

Deforestation, rapid urbanization and poaching of elephants for their ivory have all contributed to a dramatic decline in the country's wild elephant population.


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