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The following is LENANA's Orphan Profile.
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Quick Facts about  LENANA
 

Gender  Female Date of Birth  Friday, June 17, 2005
Location Found  Olpejeta Ranch, Laikipia
Age on Arrival  approximately 14 months
Comments on Place Found  She was found standing by her dead mother who died from an unknown disease
Reason for being Orphaned  Sick Mother


On the evening of 18th September, 2006 we received news that a cow elephant had died on Ol Pejeta Ranch near Nanyuki, and with her was her milk dependent calf, who was desperately trying to awaken its dead mother.This female elephant and her calf had joined a resident herd of others in August, and at the time it had not been noticed that, in fact, she was extremely unwell.This rescue alert came too late for us to be able to take action that evening, so Batian Craig, the Manager of Ol Pejeta, assigned a guard to keep an eye on the calf during the night, and ensure that it was not targeted by predators attracted to the body of its dead mother or wander away and be unable to be found the next day.

The orphaned calf browsing in the bushes  The calf and its dead mother, with its rescuers nearby

Batian rescuing the calf  The calf is captrued

Loading the calf into the rescue vehicle  The calf in the back of the rescue vehicle

Lenana's dead mother  The Olpejeta landcruiser backs up to the rescue plane

Apparently, it was heartrending to watch the calf, who was just over a year old, frantically doing everything possible to rouse her dead mother, alone and terrified in the hostile environment of darkness, beside the inert and cold body of a loved one that simply would not respond. Once all the arrangements were in place at the Nairobi end the following morning, and Ol Pejeta received word that the rescue plane was on its way, the calf was captured and taken to the Ol Pejeta Airstrip. The Keepers aboard the plane were armed with all the usual rescue paraphernalia i.e. the rescue tarpaulin, rehydration fluids and milk and an injectible antibiotic to forestall pneumonia and other stress related ailments. As soon as the plane landed, the baby was strapped onto the rescue tarpaulin, its legs and head strapped to avoid any possibility of it being able to struggle whilst airborne. Whereas at first it looked as though a serious ear infection had been the cause of the calf's mothers death, when an autopsy was performed, her condition was far more serious than just this. The entire spinal column was seriously infected as well, so she must have suffered unbelievable agony as septicemia drained away her life force. Obviously this had also affected her lactating capacity as well, because the calf was thin.

Olpejeta staff wait with the rescued elephant until the plane sent by the Trust lands  Dr. Daphne Sheldrick sent the Keepers with an antibiotic to administer before the flight, along with a tranquiliser to prepare the calf for the fligh

Edwins hand on the young calf  Lifting the calf from the car onto the canvas stretcher

It takes six men to lift the young calf lieing on the canvas stretcher  Loading the orphaned calf into the aeroplane at Olpejeta

Lenana strapped in the plane

What caused such a serious infection we were not sure – perhaps some mysterious disease to which elephants occasionally succumb for Batian Craig mentioned his father Ian Craig having seen one other such case on one of the nearby Group ranches years before. We will never know, but it was indeed fortunate that this cow elephant came to the ranch as an outsider, probably knowing that death was inevitable, and her calf would be safer there where elephants and others are welcome and protected – Knowing elephants as we do, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that this was a deliberate move on her part.

Lenana is taken off the aircraft and loaded into the waiting Trust pickup  Driving the new calf from the Wilson Airport to the Nairobi Nursery

The other nursery elephants meet Lenana  Kora affectionately discovers Lenana

Lenana meets the other orphans an hour after arriving at the Nairobi nursery

The Ranch lies within the foothills of Mount Kenya, whose three highest peaks are named after the famous early Masai Witchdoctor/Chieftains, Batian, Nelion and Lenana. Because of this, and since Ol Pejeta Ranch lies within the shadow of Mount Kenya, we felt it appropriate that our latest little female orphan, who is about 14 months old, be named Lenana.

As usual, at first little Lenana was quite “wild” and aggressive towards the Keepers, but within just a few hours she could not resist hungrily downing her first milk feed offered her by a Keeper, before trying to pin him against the wall! The other eight Nursery elephants were brought in to meet, and comfort her, and that night she slept in what is known as “The Taming Stockade” next door to that occupied by Kora, the biggest boy in the Nursery, who, along with Lualeni (the biggest girl) will soon be traveling to Ithumba to begin his gradual graduation back into the wild system. That night Lenana was exhausted, and slept well, again hungrily downing her three hourly milk ration. She was so anxious to join the others that we allowed her out the following morning, but she was still too afraid of the Keepers to accept her milk out in the bush, and since elephants lose condition frighteningly rapidly, the next day we decided to keep her in the Stockade with two Keepers to work on her and secure her confidence. (Indeed, just that one day without milk had resulted in the skeletal pronounced cheekbones indicative of milk deprivation). After two days in the Stockade with the Keepers, Lenana was out and about happily embraced by the others.

The photographs of Lenana beside her dead mother are courtesy of Ol Pejeta.

Lenana meets the other orphans  Lenana happily integrated into the nursery group - Lenana with her ears out

Lenana lays her trunk protectively over little Chyulu with Loijok protectively standing by


Lenana joins the other orphans out in the forest  

Lenana with her ears out with the other nursery orphans

Lenana grew into a beautiful female elephant and was moved to the Ithumba Unit in 2008. She went wild with Yatta's ex-orphan herd and continues to roam with them today, visiting the Ithumba Stockades to see the Keepers every now and then.


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