In a distressing video, a group of men sprint through the bush, searching for a young wild elephant they’d shot with a tranquilizer. In the next clip, the elephant is lying on the ground, clearly sedated, while men use ropes and a tarp to move her toward a nearby trailer.
The next part is perhaps the most upsetting — the elephant, who is estimated to be only 5 years old, is now standing in a trailer. It appears that the men want her to back up into a truck, but the elephant, who is still groggy from sedation, doesn’t seem to understand this. So men smack her and kick her in the head repeatedly with their boots, while another man yanks her backward with ropes.
“The men are trying to get the calf into the container behind, pulling, kicking and hitting it, and while she would feel that she is being battered, she would not yet be able to cry out, to struggle or respond,” Joyce Poole, an elephant behavior expert and codirector of ElephantVoices, told The Dodo. “It is like coming out of anaesthesia to find yourself being attacked and hurt, but not being able to understand or to do anything about it.”