It is unfathomable what this elephant has endured.

It must have looked no more ominous than a vine as she put her head through the wire circle. Certainly nothing her brute strength couldn’t snap if she yanked hard enough. The devil was in the detail – a malevolent loop through which the wire was threaded which locked the snare in a position of maximum constriction as it broke.

Instantaneous sensations of asphyxiation would have flooded her body, followed by panic and alarm at realizing her trunk was not dexterous enough to untie the knot. Unable to free herself from her unwanted necklace of doom, her ordeal of physical pain began. The odious object slowly started sawing through the softer skin of her throat, as well as the nape of her neck. The more she moved, the deeper it cut. She rubbed it on trees, covered it in dust, but nothing worked. Having worn through the skin, the relentless snare started incising the cartilage of her trachea. How surprised she must have been to suddenly expel air through her neck! How incredibly impressive to adapt to her increasing disability.

Today, Shinga was released from her wire bond. Her ordeal is far from over. It is not known whether her “tracheotomy” hole will eventually heal up, or become a permanent feature. We would like to think this special elephant, surrounded by her caring maternal herd, will adapt and survive either way.

Be brave, Shinga, be brave.