Orphaned baby Bona wins hearts

Murray Munro, Amanda French with Bona the baby elephant.
Murray Munro, Amanda French with Bona the baby elephant. BRUCE LEVICK

THE story of Bona the baby elephant has tugged on Australians' heart strings.

And that continues with every update on her progress.

Three former Australia Zoo workers came to the rescue of the severely malnourished orphaned elephant five months ago.

The trio decided to put their lives on hold to not only be surrogate parents to the endangered animal, but raise funds and awareness for Sumatran elephants.

Bona was found on a palm-oil plantation, where her mother and six other elephants died from suspected poisoning in April 2011.

After a lot of TLC, the baby elephant now weighs in at 256kg. With her physical condition being the first noticeable improvement and the second, her state of mind.

Amanda French, one of Bona's rescuers, said she looked just the way a baby elephant should.

She said Bona was chubby and filling out and she passed her latest veterinary examination.

Amanda said she and her conservation buddies were excited to celebrate Bona's second birthday.

"(It is) a milestone that we never would have thought would be possible when we first came face to face with her in Sumatra," she said.

Amanda and her fellow Team Bona mates, Bruce Levick and Murray Munro, agreed that at least one of them would always be with Bona, to make sure money donated went directly to helping her, as well as to help re-stock her food and monitor her progress.

Murray and Amanda returned to Australia in June and Bruce is in Sumatra caring for Bona.

The elephant has also started basic training so that she can one day be used as a conservation patrol elephant.

"(She) is doing well, though (she) did make us giggle yesterday, breaking away to take a nap underneath her foster mum, Aswita," she said.

Amanda said she believed Bona thought, "No more school for me today."

To donate or keep track of Bona's progress, visit savebona.com.

Topics:  animals, australia zoo, bona, elephant, sumatra



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