A three-legged baby elephant is on the way to staying firmly on all fours after capturing the heart of a young Broadbridge Heath woman.
She has been fitted with a prosthetic limb to help her get around but the fast-growing jumbo will soon need a new one.
And scientist Emma Hookham - who lives with her husband Richard in Broadbridge Heath - is determined to help her get it. She has launched a campaign aimed at raising £2,000 to pay for the false limb.
Elly’s plight touched Emma’s heart when she and her husband first met her while volunteering at the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary in Pahang, Malaysia, in July.
“The love and passion of the people who work at the sanctuary was obvious from the moment we arrived,” said Emma.
And when she first saw Elly, it was love at first sight. Said Emma: “I thought how can something so horrible happen to such a beautiful animal.
“Her leg was caught in a snare, which led to the loss of her foot. She was then abandoned by her mother, and would not have survived in the wild, had she not been rescued by the sanctuary.”
Emma and husband Richard fed Elly watermelon while standing at opposite ends of her paddock and calling her in turn to encourage her to walk on her prosthetic leg as much as possible.
Now, back home, Emma can never forget her little elephant friend. “The sanctuary managed to raise enough to money to get Elly her prosthetic leg but if won’t be long until she outgrows it and hence I am running this campaign to try to raise money for a new leg.
“The sanctuary does amazing things, rescuing elephants from human elephant conflict by their relocation or removal to the sanctuary. Elephants are amazing animals.”
Husband Richard added: “I’m really proud of Emma for starting this fundraising campaign. She’s really passionate about animals in general, and it was lovely to see how she instantly bonded with the elephants, especially with baby Elly - who was mischievous and untied her shoelaces with her trunk!”
To help Emma get a new leg for Elly, see https://www.gofundme.com/kuala-gandah-elephant-sanctuary