Baby Elephant Learns to Walk Again With Hydrotherapy


Clear Sky, a 6-month-old baby elephant rests her head on the shoulder of one of her guardians during a short break in a hydrotherapy session. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Clear Sky, a 6-month-old baby elephant rests her head on the shoulder of one of her guardians during a short break in a hydrotherapy session. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

When a baby elephant in Thailand was injured in late 2015 by a farmer's snare set to protect crops, the young pachyderm lost part of its front left foot. With infection a serious possibility, and an inability to walk spelling serious risk for the 6-month-old animal, the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand, took in the young Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

"We named her Clear Sky Up Ahead, because that is what she will need while she is with us," Kampon Tansacha, the director of the zoo where she now lives, told AFP.

Clear Sky is undergoing hydrotherapy at a nearby animal hospital to help rehabilitate her injured leg, whose muscles have withered over the past three months. These heartwarming images are from the elephant's second-ever session on Jan. 5, 2017.

"This is her second time getting water therapy so she is still a bit nervous and scared of the water," veterinarian Padet Siridumrong told AFP. "Usually baby elephants love water. If she can do this regularly she will have fun."

Clear Sky drinks milk on a morning walk with one of her guardians at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden park in Thailand's Chonburi province.
Clear Sky drinks milk on a morning walk with one of her guardians at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden park in Thailand's Chonburi province.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
The baby elephant lives in an enclosure near working elephants. She lost part of her front left foot in a snare set by villagers protecting their crops.
The baby elephant lives in an enclosure near working elephants. She lost part of her front left foot in a snare set by villagers protecting their crops.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Clear Sky is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital near the park.
Clear Sky is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at an animal hospital near the park.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
The hydrotherapy sessions aim to help Clear Sky strengthen the muscles in her leg, which have atrophied since her injury.
The hydrotherapy sessions aim to help Clear Sky strengthen the muscles in her leg, which have atrophied since her injury.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Hydrotherapy allows the elephant to move its leg and exercise its muscles.
Hydrotherapy allows the elephant to move its leg and exercise its muscles.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Nongnooch Garden, where Clear Sky lives, opened to the public in 1980 and receives more than 5,000 daily visitors.
Nongnooch Garden, where Clear Sky lives, opened to the public in 1980 and receives more than 5,000 daily visitors.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images