A newborn elephant rescued on Friday in Mondulkiri province in a state of severe malnutrition died at 3am on Monday due to an incurable ulcer.

Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak said rangers spotted the elephant in Sakrith Forest after it lost its herd in the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sopheak said on Monday that the calf’s death was regrettable.

“We are so disappointed we could not save the life of this calf. He died on Monday morning,” he said.

He said that rangers are now preparing to bury the dead calf in the forest where they had previously spotted it.

The calf, he said, was found just about 10 days after it was born and had an incurable ulcerous umbilical cord and was emaciated because he had no food or water.

“The calf likely strayed from the herd or might have been abandoned by his mother. Our specialists, in collaboration with specialists from WWF-Cambodia, tried to save and treat him and tended to his health, but to no avail,” he said.

Wild Earth Allies Cambodia programme director Tuy Sereivathana said the loss of the young calf was most regrettable, but not a unique case.

Rangers in Mondulkiri’s Sakrith Forest give water to newborn elephant calf which was rescued on Friday in a state of severe malnutrition. Photo supplied

He said his group also found an abandoned calf about two years ago, which also had an ulcerous umbilical cord. However, it was able to be saved and was reunited with its mother three months later.

“Our working group watched him from afar. We were worried that he was scared and his mother disowned him and would die if we interfered too much,” he remembered.

This is the second elephant calf confirmed dead in this month, the first being a one-year-old calf found dead in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav National Park.

Park head Loeung Khemarak said on Monday that villagers found the carcass floating in a stream along the border of Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces.

“He was dead for more than a week and was likely trapped by a hunter before he died from drowning in the area. His left leg was also broken,” he said.