N E W S L E T T E R F O R 1 9 9 5
Another year gone - gone, it would seem, at break-neck pace but Daphne, for one, is not sorry to see it end, because if 1994 was for her an "annus horribilis', 1995 must surely rank as the ultimate. However, all is well that ends well and hopefully the year long nightmare of the leg "rearranged" by the adult Tsavo Elephant on October 7th 1994 can now be firmly relegated to the pages of the past. Meanwhile, as usual, we extend to all the Trust's friends and supporters worldwide our very warmest wishes for the coming year. May 1996 be good in every way; peaceful, prosperous, happy, healthy and above all painless.
First of all, it is with deep sadness and a great sense of loss that we have to report the death of Bill Woodley which occurred on the 12th August following a sudden massive stroke that plunged him into the instant coma from which he never emerged. Just moments before he had spoken cheerfully to Daphne by phone on her return from South Africa.
Bill was probably Daphne's closest life long friend - not only her first husband and the father of Jill but always a supportive and understanding confidant and one of the Trust's most steadfast Trustees. He will be sorely missed by all; remembered forever in Kenya's conservation annals for the immense contribution he so selflessly made in Tsavo, initially as a Junior Assistant Warden, and much later as Warden of Tsavo West, also as the Warden of the Aberdare and Mount Kenya National Parks for many years and for the part he played in the creation of Lake Nakuru National Park.
In early February, it was confirmed that Daphne would need a bone graft to the broken leg. The bones had failed to knit and the pain was excruciating even five months on. Wisely, for this she opted to go to South Africa, (the problem leg occupying three seats in the aircraft!). There she was admitted to the Linksfield Orthopaedic Clinic in Johannesburg to undergo what we all hoped would be one fast major operation. Unhappily, though, this was not to be, and to cut a long story short, everything that had been done in Nairobi had to be undone and redone. Not only was the inserted hardware too big and cutting into muscle every time she moved (hence the pain), but the bone had become infected.
Five months later Daphne was given the green light to return home, which she did on the 11th July, this time proudly occupying just one seat of the airplane with a 90 plus degree bend back in the knee, something that surprised even her Surgeon. Now she is walking without the aid of crutches, (but with quite a sailor's roll, which hopefully will improve with time).
How does one ever begin to adequately thank the many kind folk whose financial assistance made all this possible, or the South African doctors whose professional skills saved her leg and returned to her a quality of life. There simply are no words in the dictionary to express such gratitude. 'Bone irrigation' as a means of treating bone infection, which is a very serious condition, was pioneered in South Africa and is only recently being practiced elsewhere.
Whilst in South Africa Daphne was, however, not altogether idle. She had some input backstage in an important public 'Elephant Debate' orchestrated by the Rhino Elephant Foundation at which she was to have been one of the Speakers. The Animal Welfare organisation, FALCON, (Fund for Animal Liberation and Conservation) publicly challenged the Kruger Park authorities over the necessity for the increasingly unpopular annual elephant cull and for the practice of selling the orphaned victims of the cull to often unsuitable overseas destinations. The debate attracted a good deal of media attention and the end result was a compromise whereby the cull quota of some 600 animals was cut by half and the authorities undertook to investigate other means of "control". Use of the controversial immobilising drug scholine had, apparently, already been discontinued so this year's victims were gunned down from helicopters instead. (Scholine collapses muscles rendering the animal immobile yet leaving it fully conscious to comprehend the honor of what goes on; to see loved ones butchered and terrified calves old enough to be sold to Circuses and Zoos dragged off and loaded into trucks).
Everyone who understands the Elephant psyche must surely appreciate the extent of the psychological suffering indicted by an annual cull; the present trauma of bereavement for those that have been spared, the agony of calves dim face a lifetime of bondage as curiosities in Circuses and Zoos, scarred for life by an experience that would surely have a similar effect on any human child.
One can't help wondering why, in this age of technology, Science cannot take a leaf from Nature's book and duplicate the way Nature controls elephant numbers by simulating a natural die off which would at least be devoid of the element of terror and which only has to happen, at most, once in an elephant's lifetime. Nature targets specific female age groups and by inhibiting recruitment immediately places a population into the long slow decline needed to permit a new generation of trees, which the elephants themselves have planted in their droppings, to emerge and get away. It is, of course, for this very reason that Nature has arranged elephant society in female units bonded together for life.
During Daphne's absence, Jill handled all Trust Matters with her usual proficiency, ably supported by our dedicated Volunteers and Staff. An event requiring a good deal of organisation was the transfer to Tsavo in April of the three Nursery Elephants, "Emily" (born in September 1993 and extracted from the disused pit latrine near the Manyani Prison Camp), courageous little "Imenti the Brave" who was born on the 19th January 1994 and whose mother was killed as she gave birth, and our miracle baby, "Aitong", who was born in the Masai Mara in November 1994 and who came to us desperately ill with chronic pneumonia and head injuries that left her walking incessantly in circles. We never expected Aitong to live, let alone become normal, but she did both, at times hanging on to the tail of one of the others as an aid to helping her walk in a straight line!
Accompanying the little Elephants to Tsavo was, as usual, a cavalcade that included a sizable contingent from the international Press plus representatives from Care for the Wild from both UK and Germany, the German based Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas, and Esther and Philipp Wolf of the Swiss based Elafanten und Artenschutz Verein, all of whom have in the past, and continue to give, valuable financial support to our Orphans Project. The move went without a hitch, thanks to the professional skill of Roy Carr Hartley who always personally undertakes the translocation of all our orphaned Elephants.
The reception the calves received from the older Tsavo orphans on arrival was as always an intensely emotional event. Malaika (aged 5), who had been smarting ever since Eleanor had managed to hijack away little "Mpenzi" (now enjoying "special calf status" within her own unit), was overcome with joy and instantly took charge of the three babies, fussing over them and caring for them as conscientiously as any adult. In order to appear smaller and less daunting before them, she kept lying down, yet obviously emitting all the right "vibes", because in no time at all the three newcomers became more confident.
The initial introduction of elephants orphaned in infancy to those larger is always a somewhat traumatic experience for babies who probably do not remember their lost elephant family. It must have been especially so for little "Imenti the Brave" whom we knew had never before seen an Elephant larger than his 18 month old nursery "matriarch" Emily, but as usual he lived up to his name!
Aitong became the immediate favourite of Malaika, being the smallest of the three, but now it was poor Emily who felt hard done by, for she had hitherto held sway in the Nursery. We were anxious in case Eleanor repeated the tactics she had adopted to woo away "Mpenzi" when she eventually met up with the newcomers, and so obviously was Malaika. However, when this happened a few weeks later, Eleanor, although interested, made no attempt to separate them from Malaika, and it was 10 year old 'Lissa' who was more attentive than Malaika would have liked.
The eight older Tsavo orphans are now large enough not to be a target for the fearsome Tsavo lions - so they are no longer enclosed in the Stockades during the hours of darkness, but are free to come and go as they please, and this they do. The past year has seen them become even more independent of their human "family' - the Keepers - and much of their time is now spent in the company of the wild herds. They now know their way around so the Keepers merely return to base and wait for their charges to return. Often the group splits up, some going with one herd and others choosing another, then, obviously always in touch through infrasound, they all mysteriously appear from different directions to meet up at a certain point. Some spend several days and nights away from base; others choose to return more frequently, coming and going at all hours of the night. Eleanor still has a pivotal function as "favourite aunt" and obviously regards herself as "guardian" in the bush as well, for on two occasions she has frog-marched Taru, who is the most adventurous, back home, having found him obviously looking a bit lost out in the great somewhere!
Eleanor has two very close wild friends, also Matriarchs of about her own age (rising 40) who have families of their own. These two cows are also classified as "favourite aunts" by our orphans who spend a lot of time with them. One cow is named "Diana" and the other "Catherine" and they are with Eleanor very often, equally at home up at the Orphans' Stockades and sometimes even spending time actually inside amongst our calves. The ongoing competition for dominance between our oldest orphan, "Olmeg" (now 9 years old) and Eleanor's adopted calf "Chuma", who is about 6 months older, continues. Olmeg, although unquestioned "boss" of the orphans (rank has a lot to do with age amongst the bulls), lost the hero-worship of his nursery companion, Taru, when Chuma got topsides of him on arrival in Tsavo seven long years ago. Taru then switched his admiration to Chuma and has never been forgiven by Olmeg for doing so. Probably that is why he is always tail end Charlie when they travel together and the reason for him being more independent than the others.
Over the years, whenever Olmeg and Chuma meet up out in the bush, there is a trial of strength in a shoving match, but whenever Olmeg looks like being the victor, Chuma yells for help and Eleanor intervenes. Nevertheless, Olmeg has worked out. a cunning strategy to get the edge on his rival.
He has cultivated "Thomas", the wild calf of about I I years old whom Eleanor recruited herself, so whenever Thomas is present, he can count on some hefty support and spends a lot of time with Eleanor's group, masquerading provocatively before Chuma. However Thomas is not always there being at the age when he prefers the company of older Bulls, and then Chuma exacts his dues.
Mary, who is now about 18 years old, seems to have decided to leave Eleanor's group. The Researchers are sure she is heavily pregnant so perhaps she Feels that Eleanor may take too much of a shine to a new baby in the absence of one of her own, which, sadly, has never materialised despite expectations. Perhaps it was aborted or perhaps Eleanor underwent a false pregnancy, but we still live in hope because our Keepers report a definite fondness for one particular bull called David!
Our orphaned elephants are an international symbol for their species. Over the past 10 years they have graced almost every television screen in the world and they, probably more than anything else, have generated a greater understanding of the nature of elephants amongst the global public. Through the international fostering scheme so ably run for us by Care for the Wild, help is extended to their wild kin, notably the Tsavo population amongst whom they will one day live as wild elephants. Every year the Trust allocates K. Shs. I million from the Orphans fund for the protection of the wild elephants. From the proceeds of a small book written about them by Barbara Rohring, the elephants of Kidepo National Park in Uganda have also benefited greatly. They are celebrities in Japan through the "Manga" in which they featured and the Ghaia Symphony, which has been a great success. The extent of this was brought home to Daphne when she and her younger daughter, Angela, visited Japan, courtesy of Jin Tatsamura and the Ghaia Symphony admirers, to benefit from Eastern medicine in the rehabilitation of her leg.
On the way home she spent a few days in London to take part in a Press Conference and a luncheon in the House of Lords organised by Care for the Wild as a run-up to the 1997 C.I.T.E.S. Conference when, unhappily, the international ban on the trade in ivory, comes up, yet again, for review. This is likely to be a very heated make or break situation, complicated from the elephants' standpoint by a highly controversial W.W.F. sponsored report which casts doubts on the effectiveness of the Ivory Ban. This appears to have an unmistakable Southern African bias suggesting that some stockpiles of ivory should be allowed on the market, subject, of course, to the usual so-called "strict controls" which have never yet worked. Small wonder that Science is widely labeled as being out of touch with reality. We can't help thinking that a little more down to earth practical common sense injected into the system by experienced field personnel wouldn't be remiss in determining what is workable and what is not.
There is absolutely no question whatsoever that the International Ivory Ban has saved Kenya's elephants and that were it lifted, surrounded a., we are by heavily armed bandit/refugees from neighbouring States in political turmoil, poaching would once again become uncontrollable and threaten the survival of all elephants North of the Zambezi. There is, of course, a thriving Black Market traffic in horn and ivory through Johannesburg to Taiwan and the Far East which accounts for the escalation in poaching further South. But to suggest that the ban has had little impact elsewhere is outrageous, to say the least. Should the ban on Ivory be lifted at the next C.I. Conference as a result of this WWF sponsored document, the demise of thousands of elephants will hang heavily on the shoulders of the two authors concerned.
The Hirole, or Hunter's HXXXXXXX, must surely rank as one of the world's most endangered antelope species, for it occurs only in one small area of the Tana River in Kenya which is rapidly being overrun by human habitation. Twenty sub adult Hirole (all in poor condition) were relocated and released in Tsavo East National Park way back in 1963. No one expected them to make it, because they scattered far and wide. But against all odds, They managed to survive and have since proliferated and endured. The Tana River population is being eroded and the need to move the survivors. is becoming increasingly urgent.
Another crisis looming in Tsavo East National Park is the silting up of the Arubda Dam. Tsavo East has only two permanent rivers, so stocks of game are limited to the carrying capacity of the dry season range within reach of permanent water. The seasonal Voi River was dammed in 1952 and the Aruba Dam created. Over the years the dam provided permanent water in the Southern section of the Park. In its vicinity huge herds of buffalo, zebra and other grazers proliferated. The dam has been silting up for many years but 1996 will undoubtedly see it dry completely. Decisive and rapid action must be taken NOW arid as a matter of urgency, if a catastrophe of monumental dimensions is to be averted.
Having enjoyed a break of almost seven months with no infant elephants in the Nairobi Nursery, we found ourselves hard at it all over again with the arrival of 2 week old "Sungelai" in October, who was orphaned in Maralal (Olmeg's birthplace), presumably a victim of the sadly now all too prevalent "problem animal control". Two weeks later three month old "Soba" arrived in a state of collapse, also from the same part of the world, but suffering from chronic diarrhea and a hemorrhaging stress ulcerated gut that refused to respond to all the, remedies we, and the Vet, could think of. Tragically, we lost him two weeks later, but a few days later in bounced little "Zoe" who came from the Mackinnon Road area of Tsavo, and who, astonishingly arrived in perfect shape, and proceeded to make herself at home instantly, asserting authority over "Sungelai" from day one. Only two of our elephant orphans have arrived in condition good enough to escape the attentions of a Vet: Ajok, now rising 6 years old who was just a few. days old on arrival, and now Zoe, who was about 2 weeks old when she came in and so named by the Keepers in honour of Jill's second daughter.
We narrowly escaped having yet another orphan, this time from Amboseli National Park, when a 3 month old baby fell down a Well used by We Masai for drawing water for their cattle. Unable to extricate the calf, the herd abandoned it and went on a four day walkabout across the border into Tanzania, in itself a hazardous practice, since some so-called big game hunters have taken to sitting on the border like scavengers waiting to bag any of Amboseli's Big Tuskers who venture across.
The calf, meanwhile, was rescued by tribesmen and taken to the Amboseli., Park headquarters from whence the Warden contacted us by phone. By courtesy of Air Kenya, who have flown several of our orphans to safety, we sent one of our Keepers down on the scheduled flight duly aimed with all the paraphernalia needed to keep a baby elephant alive whilst the Researchers set about trying to locate its mother and her herd. They were found on the fourth day as they were returning from Tanzania. In the light of "Emily" having been rejected by her mother due to human scent, we instructed our Keeper to give the calf a good coating of fresh elephant clung. before trying to reunite it with its herd, so this was duly done. It was then driven to within proximity of the herd and tipped out of the vehicle which then drove off a short distance, leaving our Keeper to urge the baby towards its mother before sprinting back to safety. Finding itself suddenly alone, the baby began emitting distress calls to which the mother, and the herd, instantly responded. However, the mother was obviously unconvinced that this was, indeed, her calf, and looked as though she might reject it, but the rest of the herd, under the guidance of an older cow, immediately surrounded it and began to escort it off, the mother following., behind. Events were then overtaken by nightfall so the human onlookers had to leave, but very early the next day they were back, and sure enough, there was the baby suckling its mother happily as though nothing untoward had ever taken place! We were relieved and delighted by such a happy, ending.
Not for long though. A few weeks later, exactly the same scenario took place - the same calf fell down the same well and the same herd went on the same walkabout into Tanzania etc., etc., followed by an identical set of circumstances, except that this time round the calf was perfectly at home with his human baby-sitter -truly an elephant of two worlds reflecting the symbiotic relationship the Amboseli elephants, having escaped mass poaching and harassment, have with humans.
Meanwhile what has become known as "the human/elephant conflict" has come to a head in Dr. Western's time as Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (K.W.S.). This is due mainly, of course, to the demands of an escalating human population which has occupied much of the land once at the disposal Of elephants, cutting ancient migratory routes and separating Populations. But it is also a dire" result of the poaching holocaust of the seventies and eighties within the Parks which drove elephants out in a desperate attempt to seek shelter around human habitation where they found they were safer from the Somali threat. There they huddled in terrified groups, near Park headquarters, Lodges and even around villages beyond the Park boundaries, and there, of course, they developed a liking for the crops they found. Previously elephants had always been shot when they ventured into croplands, but Dr. Leakey placed a moratorium on the "control" killing in the battle to stem the tide of wholesale slaughter of that time. Whereas previously elephants had been poached silently inside the Parks with bows and poisoned arrows, and killed by gunfire outside the Park boundaries in croplands, overnight they were being slaughtered with guns inside the Parks and spared around human habitation. The result was that they lost the distinction of where they were, and were not, welcome. This has led to problems.
K.W.S. now has a "Problem Animal Control Unit' whose title speaks for itself. Elephants are again being shot "on control" whenever they step outside the Park boundaries. It is disturbing to again see piles of blood stained tusks littering the floor of Park Stores, no( the victims of poaching any . I . more, but of "problem animal control". To my knowledge only three elephants were killed by "-hers in Tsavo in 1995 . All died from arrow poison.
Naturally the destruction of life and property is a highly political emotive issue and the elephants have to be "reeducated", yet the memory of the massacre of the poaching days is only 6 years distant and therefore very fresh in their giant brains. They are fearful to return to former haunts, now tearful to remain where they are, and, understandably, have developed a deep hatred of mankind. Some have taken to retaliation killings of tribesmen and that has caused even more trouble for them.
Since the International Ivory Ban poaching has been controlled within the Parks and the elephants are beginning to venture back to haunts they had previously abandoned, but there are many others sheltering on Ranches far removed from National Parks - tragic refugees from the North - who have nowhere to go. The Northern frontier is still "no man's land", overrun by heavily armed desperados driven from their own strife-torn countries. The few ranches where refugee elephants have found sanctuary are too small to sustain them indefinitely, so these elephants, in particular, need help urgently.
There are several key phrases popular today that crop up in nearly every discussion about wild communities. "Sustainable consumptive utilisation" is viewed, of course, from a narrow human perspective of what will benefit humans NOW rather than what may be best for future generations or the well-being of the environment as a whole. It is a phrase that could perhaps be viable in a sense when applied to animals that can be manipulated and managed; where Nature's own controls such as predation and disease can be eliminated and animals domesticated, but it has the ring of a death knell when applied to free living indigenous wild communities subjected to the natural order. After all, Nature never intended a multiplying, voracious, hi-tech predator such as modem man with his unnatural hi-tech methods of killing to be introduced as a major consumer of free roaming wild animals. Nor has any allowance been made for failings endemic in modern man such as avarice, corruption and greed; nor for the negative impact harassment and stress must have on breeding; nor for the disturbance factor that must impact negatively on subtleties such as territoriality, dominance and rank etc., all of which are important factors within complex natural social orders.
The possession and sale of game meat had always been illegal. In the, early nineties, during Dr. Leakey's time, it was legalised . Once again, this was, of course, supposed to be subjected to strict quotas and controls which have proved impossible to enforce. Whilst many nomadic tribes coexisted peacefully with wild animals and traditionally shunned consuming game meat, now they were exposed to the example of tourists being offered just about everything on four legs as a delicacy in expensive Nairobi restaurants, including dikdik (which mate for life) and animals such as giraffe, eland, hartebeest and the gazelles with zebra meat widely available as dogmeat. The introduction of a consumptive commercial element into the utilisation of wildlife has opened a Pandora's Box that will have catastrophic consequences. Jua Kali butcheries (i.e. small 'bush' butcheries serving local communities) are all stuffed with game meat taken from animals snared or hunted illegally and K.W.S. is impotent to do anything about it. How long, we wonder, can the stocks of wild animals hold out under such pressure and what will happen to the migratory species of the Nairobi National Park who are slaughtered every time they step out? The prognosis, sadly, is not encouraging.
An assertion often made by wildlife officials is that wild animals have proliferated greatly since the hunting ban of the seventies and that there are, in fact, more animals outside protected areas than within. We would question this. The truth of the matter is that those wild animals that have managed to survive and which once ranged over wide areas are now being compressed into smaller and smaller concentrations by human expansion. Such concentrations may look impressive in terms of numbers, but it is an illusion. Figures gathered over the past 17 years by UNEP's Ecological Range Monitoring Unit tell a different story. Wildlife overall is down by 62% in areas outside the National Parks - a sinister trend that seems to be overlooked in the face of "consumptive fever'. In other words, our wildlife resource is disappearing before our very eyes. The policy of 'sustainable utilisation' is flawed because in modem circumstances, it is not sustainable at all. Such matters were the subject of a Debate organised by the East African Wildlife Society in August at which the Trust presented this view.
In last year's Newsletter, we reported on a pilot project in which the Trust, with funding assistance from the Canadian Kenya Wildlife Fund and the Born Free Foundation, and by invitation of K.W.S., were involved in an experiment to determine whether "problem" leopards trapped in human settlement could be successfully relocated elsewhere if held in situ for a period of time before release. Recent K.W.S. policy has been to euthenase such animals, based on previous experience of leopards having returned after simply being tipped out of a capture crate in strange surroundings. We maintained that if they were held at the point of release for some time beforehand, (as one would a domestic cat) many of these animals could be successfully relocated and saved. Experience elsewhere has indicated that only old Toms have a strong homing instinct that cannot be reoriented.
Three leopards have been the subject of these trials. The first, a young male stock-killer from Ulu, was radio collared and released at Lugards Falls in Tsavo, having been first held for three months. At no time did it make any attempt to return to where it originated, but it did end up leaving the Park in the opposite direction and was eventually shot near Mackinnon Road
having killed a goal. However, whilst in the Park it had fed itself successfully on dikdik arid there was no evidence of it having been involved in territorial fighting. However, K.W.S, insisted (in very intense ground tracking over and above aerial monitoring, and it stands to reason that since the leopard quite obviously saw the ground team each day long before they saw it, it was, in effect, literally hounded out of the Park.
The next two candidates were young leopards trapped for killing baboons near the Nairobi Primate Centre. These were held for I month in Meru National Park, then radio-collared and released. Again, neither has made any attempt to return home: 10 months later, both are apparently still in the Park.
We had hoped that as a result of these three experiments, K.W.S. might be induced to amend its euthenasing policy insofar as "problem" leopards are concerned, but things nowadays are never that simple. The verdict (perhaps not unexpectedly in view of the prevalent scientific bias of the wildlife Department) was: "we need more research!"
Yet, as always, we'd like to end our annual Newsletter with good news and this year it is that the success of Kenya's Rhino Project continues, with Rhino, breeding well in all the fenced Sanctuaries and those free-released in Tsavo also thriving. There was just one nasty surprise in 1995 and that was that, instead of the estimated 45+ Black Rhinos believed to exist on Kuki Gallman's 01 Ari Nyiro ranch, in reality there appears to be only some 5 at most. Whether they were ever there is - of course - open to question, and we'll never know the answer for sure. Our two rhino orphans, Amboseli (now rising 9 years old) and "Scud" (born during the Gulf War and now nearly 5), are both enjoying an unparalleled quality of life living free and independent. Amboseli is part of the free ranging reintroduced Tsavo East community and Scud is now a fully integrated member of the resident Nairobi Park population which still numbers almost 60 despite the relocation of some 20 elsewhere.
'Amboseli" undertook a long walkabout leaving her usual home range near Melka Faya in Tsavo East to spend time alone on the North Bank of the Galana river. We all hoped that the reason for this might be the imminent arrival of the long expected first calf, but she has since returned, sadly, minus any offspring in tow. We suspect that the calf might have fallen prey to lions.
Meanwhile Scud, now an impressive size, is independent of her Keepers and returns whenever the urge takes her (which is most evenings). Often she is in the company of another sub adult who keeps a respectful distance from the house as she enjoys a token handout of bran and has any puncture wounds patched. Often we are treated to nocturnal "hijinks" involving all the sounds in a the rhino repertoire in which Scud plays her pan.
Finally, we must record our most grateful thanks to all whose continued support is the lifeline for all our endeavours; in particular we are deeply indebted to Wyeth Laboratories and especially to Don Barrett and Jaqui McAleer who have never failed to respond instantly to any plea for milk; to Rosie Whitten, Mandy Plant, their spouses, and to R.A.F. Bryes Norton for organising the transportation thereof, to Air Kenya for transporting needy orphans on many occasions and carrying our Keepers when needed elsewhere free of charge; to crew members of British Airways who bring us a steady stream of tins to act as a back-up stock that caters for unforeseen emergencies. As always we are deeply indebted to Care for the Wild U.K. who so capably handle the elephants' fostering scheme and can always be relied upon for prompt assistance whenever called upon; Likewise Esther and Philipp Wolf of Switzerland, Louise Charlton of Canada, Roland Witschel of Care for the Wild Germany, and Hans and Barbara Rohring of Germany who have again given us a sizable donation. Elefriends U.K. and Australia and the Australian Fund for Animals are similarly ongoing and valuable supporters, as is Gunther Peter of AGA Germany. And lastly but by no means least, a heartfelt thank you to all who have sent us donations this past year, both large and small, each one, no matter how modest, most sincerely appreciated, each one a symbol of care and compassion that gives us the incentive we need to carry on.
Our orphans owe most of all, however, to the Keepers - their human family the two dozen dedicated, trained men who are with them day and night for their two nursery years and there for them whenever needed as they are growing up and learning how to be elephants again down in Tsavo. The patience and empathy of these men has replaced the sense of security they would have known in their natural elephant family; a priceless gift that cannot be evaluated.
This year, in addition to our usual sizable donation towards the protection of elephants in Tsavo East National Park, the Trust contributed a sizable sum in support of the small population of rhino in Lewa Downs Sanctuary, purchased a new Water Pump for the Nairobi National Park, helped fund the Leopard Projects, the Windpump at Kone, and is currently searching for ways and means of helping resolve the Aruba Dam crisis. But probably our most significant contribution to conservation has been our ability to give the Kenya Wildlife Service an intact set of all the Quarterly Reports for Tsavo East National Park dating from its inception in 1948 to David's Handing Over Notes of 1976. Astonishingly, and shamefully, apparently the Headquarter copies of all the country's National Park reports were willfully destroyed during the era of the Government Wildlife Conservation Management Department. How fortunate that some of "the old Guard", David for one, but also Peter Jenkins, and probably Bill Woodley as well, were far-sighted enough to preserve a copy for posterity and thereby retrieve for the country a wealth of invaluable data that would otherwise have been lost.
Again, we wish all our friends and supporters a very productive, peaceful and happy 1996.
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The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya