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The Newsletter for 2001 is available in both text format which appears below and Get Adobe AcrobatAdobe Acrobat format for people wishing to easily print it off. Please click here to view the Newsletter as an Acrobat PDF document. Note: you require Adobe Acrobat to view it in this format. Thank-you for your support!
 

THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST

P.O. Box 15555, Nairobi 00503
Kenya.

Tel: - 254 (0) 733 891 996

Website: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust org
Email:
info@sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

N E W S L E T T E R  F O R   2 0 0 1

The year 2001 is a year that no one will ever forget.   It has been a year of catastrophe and tragedy, both global and personal, the likes of which we have never weathered before.   The Twin Towers disaster of September 11th,, graphically portrayed on our television screens, shocked and appalled all decent people worldwide and has had a profound impact way beyond the United States.   Here in Kenya, tourist revenues fell instantly, resulting in substantial cuts being made by the Kenya Wildlife Service to their field budgets.   This in itself has serious implications; it means less effective security in our National Parks and, more damaging still, loss of field morale.   With another CITES "debacle" looming next year, no doubt accompanied by increasing pressure from Southern African States to sanction the selling of ivory, this is, indeed, disastrous for the elephants since poaching will undoubtedly escalate even further.   Whilst this year the poaching of elephants has been kept within controllable limits within the National Parks and privately owned protected areas, it is totally out of hand elsewhere, especially in war-torn Central Africa and Zimbabwe.     United Nations reports document the wholesale slaughter of elephants in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, endorsed by what is openly on sale in Egypt.   Illegal hauls have been seized in transit in India, Uganda, Thailand, Kenya, South Africa and even Belgium and America.    Ivory is even advertised openly by some Tourist Resorts in Egypt, their brochures offering it with a Certificate of authenticity, pledging that it comes from elephants that have died of natural causes, and not culled or poached.   This, of course, is nonsense.  

The Trust likewise suffered setbacks that necessitated fundamental adjustments to our affiliation with other charities.   This has meant that we have had to become much more proactive ourselves on the fundraising front to cater for our growing orphan family.    Very fortunately, having spent five years putting Borana Lodge on the map, the move of Daphne's younger daughter Angela and her husband Robert closer to home in April this year was both fortunate and timely for the Trust.   A great deal of time has been spent setting up the Trust's own on-line fostering scheme and generally working towards making our website more informative and attractive.   Angela's artistic talent combined with the brilliance of our dedicated Webmaster, Paul Mackenzie, who has undertaken his end of the task with untiring enthusiasm and as a donation to the Trust has now gone a long way towards achieving this aim.   We are deeply grateful to them both.   

Our on-line fostering scheme offers each foster-parent, through their Email, in exchange for just $50 a year, an attractive Fostering Certificate, monthly links to The Keepers' Diary and a beautiful water colour painting.   The Keepers' Diary chronicles on a daily basis the progress and gradual reintegration of our orphaned elephants back into the wild community, and by selecting the name of a chosen orphan, everything pertaining to that elephant can be printed out, so that when the elephant is grown, not only does a foster-parent have a detailed record of that particular elephant, but also an attractive booklet.  Furthermore, a Fostering Certificate entitles access to the orphaned elephants once they are in Tsavo, a privilege only foster-parents enjoy, for once the elephants begin the reintegration process, human contact is limited for obvious reasons.

In addition, the Trust has organised a safe online Internet Secure facility through our website in order to be able to accommodate credit card donations which are paid directly into our Nairobi Bank Account.   We can now also offer tax-deductible benefits through this arrangement for our American donors.    All details concerning the various options about how best to ensure that donations reach us, appear as an addendum to this Newsletter.   Whereas previously Care for the Wild acted as the repository for our postal overseas donations, now we have our own agent based in Scotland in the person of Catherine Mills, an ex Kenya girl and an ex Policewoman, who is prepared to act on our behalf in a voluntary capacity.   She will henceforth field our mailed donations and forward them directly to our Bank.   A repository for our overseas donations became urgent following the fraudulent interception of cheques addressed to us in Kenya, a form of corruption that is now prevalent in this country.

With 25 little elephants still milk dependent plus a host of older elephants who are betwixt and between us and the wild herds, we need all the help we can get from well-wishers worldwide.   In addition to the elephants, we have three rhinos still to provide for, plus a tiny warthog orphan, buffaloes and little duikers in Meru National Park for whom the Trust provides milk, and no doubt many others still to come who will need our help.   Whilst the milk requirements of our Nursery elephants are a donation, courtesy of the manufacturers, that for the weaners in Tsavo has to be imported and does not come cheap.    The animals we have reared remain our responsibility often even beyond adulthood, for like human children, when in trouble or need, they tend to return, something that has been graphically demonstrated this year.    Rescuing, healing, nurturing, and re-integrating the long-lived species such as elephants and rhinos is, by any standards, a mammoth task and one we cannot manage without help.   We are fortunate, indeed, so far to have always received it.

We are currently working towards trying to resolve a misunderstanding over the fostering funds raised by Care for the Wild on our orphaned elephants and rhinos.   We are hopeful that this can be sorted out in the interests of both our elephants and wildlife conservation generally, but this time on a much more formal footing underwritten by a signed Memorandum of Understanding.   This new arrangement will ensure a fixed annual sum from Care for the Wild's fostering funds towards the general expenses of our orphans, and whilst the figure under consideration will by no means cover all the costs entailed, it will nevertheless be an enormous help.   We have always been exceedingly grateful to the support made possible by Care for the Wild's fostering scheme.

2001 was the year that Daphne had set aside to complete her autobiography, something that has been relegated to the Back Burner for far too long - "the book" as it has become widely known.  Yet again, it has had to remain there, for a great deal of her time, along with that of Angela, who is more web friendly, has been devoted to the Trust's website and, of course, the growing number of orphans.   Nevertheless, in spite of everything, it has been generally a productive and rewarding year in many ways.   Time again to assess, and share with all who have helped, what the Trust has been able to achieve:-

  • Forty elephants, many newborn when orphaned, and now of varying ages, ranging between weeks old to almost grown, today enjoy the gift of life whereas not one of them would otherwise have survived. This year has brought us 8 new elephants to swell the ranks.
     

  • Four Black Rhino, one with two wild born calves likewise live today, and apart from "Makosa", who at two is still dependent, now enjoy a quality of life in wild terms, as do two little orphaned zebra now romping around with a wild herd in the safety of Meru National Park.   Our two zebra orphans, Tumaini and Matope, raised from newborn, were introduced to a wild Meru herd in May.   The stallion couldn't believe his luck, able to welcome two nubile beauties disgorged from the back of a vehicle into his herd!  We hear that they are fine, because whenever a car approaches, they come rushing out to take a closer look at the human occupants, before being rounded up once more by their lord and master!
     

  • Many animals snared in wire traps facing an agonising death have been       spared, due to the regular patrolling of our two very active de-snaring teams up and down one important boundary of Tsavo National Park - along the entire Mtito river, the railway line, between Mtito and Tsavo and covering also waterholes within the Park triangle.   What we have been able to achieve in terms of keeping one boundary virtually free of snares has probably been one of our most important conservation contributions.
     

  • Many schools bordering the Park now enjoy text books and stationery where before they had precious few.   This has resulted in one of our schools heading the list of Achievers in the Coast Province.   We acknowledge with grateful thanks the support of Care for the Wild who bought the textbooks for one of the schools this year.
     

  • Pupils at these schools receive instruction in sport enthusiastically delivered by a member of the de-snaring team who missed going to Sydney on Kenya's Olympic team by just one place.    James Mbuthia will now lead the Mtito river team, freeing Wambua Kikwatha for the important Northern boundary of the Park.   He will be based at the Ithumba Headquarters.
     

  • The children in the boundary schools benefit from regular video films depicting wildlife as well as wildlife oriented Lectures delivered by the de-snaring Team Members as part of the Trust's community commitment.
     

  • A thriving little Tree Nursery has yielded literally thousands of tree seedlings for the community, planted and nurtured by our Home Based Team led by Patrick Matuku, who is responsible for patrolling the Trust land itself, and interacting closely with the community neighbours.  
     

  • Trips into Tsavo National Park are organised in conjunction with K.W.S. A thrilling description of one such trip written by a student has been  posted on our website illustrating the impression such trips make on  a young mind.

The first de-snaring Team and Community Leader, Wambua Kikwatha and his men have done a splendid job this year, graphically portrayed on our website under "De-snaring".   Care for the Wild supported our efforts with a 5,000 donation, but Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cullman III, to whom we are enormously grateful for such generosity, have carried most of the financial burden.   Their substantial support has now enabled us to begin to mobilise a third unit for the vital Northern boundary of Tsavo East, which will work closely with the Senior Warden, Daniel Woodley, who, himself, has been guiding de-snaring patrols on foot in the North.   These have illustrated in a truly shocking way the horrendous toll of smaller animals this form of poaching exacts on a daily basis.   The snaring of wild animals poses the single most serious threat to wildlife in this country today and is literally wiping out the smaller "meat" species over large swathes of the country, particularly along Park boundaries.

Illustrating the important impact our De-snaring and Community efforts have had, I now quote from a report written by Wambua Kikwatha, our De-Snaring Team Leader: -

    "After only two years of community conservation awareness, I feel encouraged the moment I see the attitude and behaviour of children changing positively day by day.   At Mzima Springs, on a Park tour with Kyusyani Wildlife Club, it was the spirit of self-discipline and responsibility that the pupils, undirected, cleaned the car park yard, emptied all dustbins and burned the litter.   Even more motivating, a pupil from Kamunyu School convinced his young siblings not yet in school to destroy their catapults for killing birds and instead started a bird feeding table and a tree Nursery at home.  

    The community has now realised the mess it has fixed itself in by cutting trees and burning charcoal.   After sensitisation, the same community is crying to replace what has been lost.   The demand for tree seedlings, which is over 5,000, outstrips the Trust's capacity to provide.   We are now changing our approach from germinating seedlings ourselves for the community to empowering the community's social groupings and school wildlife clubs to germinate their own seedlings.

    To strengthen the Sports Clubs formed deliberately to enhance conservation awareness, the Trust donated two balls and a net.   We also intend to introduce Badminton for very young ones who may not be able to play football."

  • Meanwhile, African children of Nairobi join many others, often turning up in their hundreds, to pour into our Nairobi Nursery on a daily basis to watch and wonder at the orphans at play during the open mudbath hour.   For the past 17 years, we have opened our doors to the public on a daily basis.  Between 11 a.m. and 12 noon, people arrive in droves, welcomed by the broad smile of two of our home based stalwarts who have proved that they, too, have the "staying power" it takes - our very efficient Clerk, Permanus Kyalo and handyman Johnston Itumu.
     

  • Everyone leaves the Nursery better informed and a little more caring of the priceless heritage that is their birthright and this has gone a long way towards securing a greater understanding of the value of wildlife amongst the Nairobi community.   Kenya can be proud of its more compassionate approach to wildlife and nature, demonstrated by many ecotourism successes involving communities.   Our orphaned elephants, and our own modest community input has played a leading role in bringing this about.
     

  • Many young African Volunteers willingly devote an hour of their day to addressing the public during the Open Hour, and manning our modest shop, thereby fulfilling an important public relations commitment and demonstrating that today, there are many Kenyans that really do care.
     

  • Thousands of wild inmates of Tsavo East, embracing all species, can now drink in peace at the Trust's Ndara and Aruba waterholes, the result of two very productive boreholes funded by the Trust powered by Windmills that whirr away quietly, pumping out life-giving water day and night in a thirsty land.

These two Windmills are due entirely to the hands-on fundraising activities of a handful of children from the Bury Church of England High School in Lancashire, U.K., who with initiative and energy set about raising the necessary funding, not forgetting the dynamism of their teacher, Jackie Vet without which it would not have happened.   Animals can now drink without fear of becoming bogged in the mud of the silted Aruba Dam - long the only alternative water source during the dry season, but which has degenerated through silting into a death-trap for all animals and especially the elephants.   Due to some legal wrangle involving the tender for the now derelict Aruba Safari Lodge (once the pride of Tsavo East) no remedial action has apparently been possible, but Nature herself is taking a hand.   The basin of this once beautiful and extensive man made lake is gradually becoming a productive grassy plain that will serve Tsavo's huge buffalo herds well.   Several of these are a thousand strong and present a truly memorable sight, for which Tsavo is equally as famous in Kenya as it is for its great elephant herds.

The Bury High School Children of the Sheldrick Trust (as they like to be called) were treated to a sponsored trip in February, and received V.I.P. treatment from the Kenya Tourist Board, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and, of course, ourselves.   During a picnic lunch hosted by the Trust at the Ndara waterhole, they saw for themselves the results of all their efforts.   A herd of elephants turned up to drink, and with the distant hills reflected in the surface of the pool made possible by their Windmill, elephant babies romped and played with gay abandon.   Then, before leaving and as though to acknowledge those who had made all this possible, one elephant swung round beneath the Windmill itself, faced the spectators, and with ears out and trunk aloft, directed a trumpet at the audience!   It was an inspirational occasion and a fitting incentive for the children to renew their fundraising efforts for yet another project, of which there is no shortage.

This year we hosted another memorable occasion to fulfil a longstanding promise made to the tribesmen of Il Ngwezi Group Ranch in the North, who rescued our elephant, "Ilingwezi" in April 1999 as a tiny two-week-old calf who had fallen into an erosion gulley.   Readers of previous Newsletters will remember that the tribal Elders and Ilingwezi's rescuer himself were so concerned about the welfare of "their" elephant that the Trust arranged for them to be flown to Nairobi so that they could see for themselves that she was in good hands.   On that day, Daphne made them another promise - that when "Ilingwezi" had graduated from the Nairobi Nursery and was growing up in Tsavo, they would be flown there as well to see the next step involved in the raising of "their" elephant.   This happened on the 8th March, with financial help from Simon Trevor's African Film Foundation.   Then, those same tribesmen were joined in Tsavo by the Minister in the Office of the President, Mr. Marsdon Madoka, the Kenya Wildlife Service Director, Nehemiah Rotich, and other dignitaries, all of whom were taken out into the bush to meet "Ilingwezi" and her friends just before and during their mudbath.  

There was not one person present who was not overawed by being surrounded by so many friendly elephants of all sizes, including "Ilingwezi" herself, now sporting two tiny tusks.   Even more stirring and impressive was the unexpected appearance of 13-year-old Dika, (sporting huge tusks) who strolled out of the bush and towered over the slightly anxious visitors to greet them with gentle and quiet dignity.   Following a luncheon hosted by the Trust, everyone flew out again, but that day is guaranteed to be a talking point in far off Samburu land for many moons, spreading even further Kenya's caring conservation image.

  • In terms of assistance for the Kenya Wildlife Service this year, the Trust has, as usual, from its own resources, provided fuel for the deepening of many natural waterholes aimed at providing water longer into the dry season.
     

  • Security fuel has, as usual, also been donated to Tsavo East, purchased by the tankerload to keep the anti-poaching patrols mobile and ensure protection for all the Park's wild inmates.  
     

  • Our donation of fuel has enabled the Warden to divert some of his limited resources to reconditioning several disfunctional vehicles, something that would otherwise not have been possible.
     

  • By funding the repair of a Windmill for the Northern Area's vitally important Orma neighbours just beyond the Northeastern boundary of the Park, the Trust played a part in ensuring their friendship as allies able to give early warning of Somali incursion before the poachers ever reach the Park.
     

  • Deprived of their water source, the Orma were forced to bring their thirsty cattle into the Park itself, and hence, by immediately addressing their Windmill problem, the Trust helped solve another
     

  • Assistance this year has extended beyond just Tsavo, for we have contributed financially towards anti-poaching and anti-logging patrols in the forests of Mount Kenya.   The Mount Kenya National Park is a crucial  water-catchment area for the entire country, but its invaluable pristine forests are under threat, as are the animals they harbour. 
     

  • We have also contributed towards the building of new Ranger Quarters there, taking advantage of an offer made by the British Army to build them at cost.   Without the Trust's input, this offer by the Army would have been withdrawn due to an inability to come up with the money needed. 
     

  • In the interests of greater security within the Kenya Wildlife Service's Headquarter Security Division, the Trust has had an input nearer to home as well.   For the Security Division of K.W.S. Headquarters, we have funded the purchase of fire-proof safes to secure vital incriminatory evidence needed in Court.   Where keys had been misplaced, we also installed new locks on the existing filing cabinets in the interests of tighter control over security documents.

Over and above all this, we understand from Care for the Wild's Winter Newsletter, that fostering funds generated by our elephants have funded many of their conservation projects as well, including the rebuilding of the Northern Area's Ithumba Headquarters.

During David Sheldrick's time, by the late sixties, the infrastructure of the Northern Area was fully developed to the very high standard that marked everything David ever did.   By then poaching had been entirely eliminated in the area, and it was with pride that David was able to categorically report that not one elephant had been lost to poachers in Tsavo East for an entire decade.   The road systems were in place, all demarcated with neat cedar signposts, water reservoirs established to collect runoff from rock catchments to serve the anti-poaching patrols, underground game viewing bunkers in place beside watering points in the bed of the Tiva sand river and on the slopes of the Yatta a beautiful concrete lookout designed to sleep 12, overlooking a cascading mini spring on the slopes of the escarpment.   The Ithumba Headquarters itself, constructed at the base of Ithumba hill was completed and fully functional as early as the mid fifties, comprised of neatly thatched bandas to accommodate the Rangers and Staff, standing on walled terraces, a stout Armoury, Radio Room and Offices, all shaded by beautiful Tamarinds and Figs.   The small Assistant Warden's house, was occupied by Daphne's brother, Peter Jenkins, who oversaw everything that went on North of the Galana in those days. 

The Northern Area was set apart from the rest of Tsavo as the wilderness refuge of its great elephant herds and the then ubiquitous Black Rhino.   Because it was so remote and for the most part, waterless, and its distances so great, the danger of breaking down and dying of thirst was very real and, in fact, many near fatal tragedies had already occurred before the decision was made to close it to the general public.   Instead, it was reserved for tourism's elite, escorted by a competent Safari Guide in a two vehicle convoy and always accompanied by an armed National Park Ranger equipped with a radio, all in the interests of visitor safety. 

In David's time, it was both his and Peter Jenkins' favourite place on earth, epitomising the magic of a pristine and truly wild place.   But when Peter left and David died the Northern Area was virtually forgotten by the then Government authority and Tsavo generally suffered 25 years of rampant poaching and neglect.   The infrastructure that had been laid with such precision and care was reclaimed by bush, the great elephant herds for which the area was famous were massacred and the rhinos annihilated entirely.   Those elephants that managed to survive abandoned the area and thereafter the Northern Area, like the whole of Tsavo, suffered the ruination of corruption and neglect.   Recently, with more effective patrolling and the appointment of Daniel Woodley as the Northern Area's full time Senior Warden, based at Ithumba, the elephants are beginning to venture back, tunnelling again into the sands of the Tiva to expose water for all.   If they can be protected, this vitally important wilderness area will gradually regain its former glory for the key to this are the elephants.

For Daphne, it will always be there, in the Northern Area of Tsavo, and particularly at Ithumba and along the Tiva sand river, that the spirits of both David Sheldrick and Bill Woodley, along with that of her brother Peter Jenkins, remain as an enduring and almost real tangible presence. The massif that towers over the rust coloured buildings harbours its own special mystique, long feared by local tribesmen, for the wind funnelling down rock fissures roars at intervals like a lion, stirring the giant Figs and Tamarinds that grow at its base, before echoing eerily away into the distance.

Standing up to deliver her speech at Care for the Wild's ceremony to mark the rebuilding of the Ithumba Headquarters, Daphne was transported back in time after an absence of 30 years, and it was such an emotional experience, that she broke down as she struggled to explain to the puzzled audience the way it used to be!   Yet, how could outsiders possibly understand the special place this wild and remote place held in her heart, or begin to know how poignant were the memories that suddenly unravelled her composure!   There was one person present, however, who did - the new Senior Warden of the Northern Area - Daniel Woodley - who on that day was relegated to a back seat, appearing only as another spectator in a crowd.   That aside, for an Old Timer like Daphne it was very gratifying to know that the son of Tsavo's first Assistant Warden, Bill Woodley, was now set to walk the same wild wastes on foot, as did his father all those years ago, long before the first road was in place, and with the same sort of selfless dedication that was the hallmark of the founder Wardens of Kenya's National Parks. 

The death of Daphne's brother, Peter Jenkins, on the 17th September, after a long illness borne with great fortitude, was a terrible loss for the family and for conservation generally.  Peter was the longest serving Warden on the entire African Continent; having joined the National Parks Service aged 18.   It was he who, as a schoolboy in the late forties, designed the very first logo for the Kenya National Parks and having left school; he and Bill Woodley were the first to join the Service as Junior Assistant Wardens.   Both served under David Sheldrick in Tsavo, but it was in Meru National Park, as a Warden, that Peter really left his mark.   Broken down when he took it over, he turned it around into a meticulously managed model of its time.   This, in itself, was no mean task, for Meru was in ruins when he took it over and funds limited, but in addition he was called upon to shoulder the added responsibility of the remote National Reserves of Marsabit and Sibiloi which he handled with equal dedication and commitment.   Today, his son Mark, has taken up his mantle, faced with an even greater task of reconstruction, for Meru National Park not only once again fell into disrepair following Peter's departure, but its once prolific wildlife was decimated by the bush meat trade and uncontrolled elephant poaching almost to the point of total extinction.

Following the death of David Sheldrick in 1977, both Peter Jenkins and Bill Woodley had a hand in retrieving Kenya's Black Rhino population, masterminding and establishing the first fenced Black Rhino Sanctuaries, Peter in Lake Nakuru National Park and Bill in Tsavo West.   But for their timely intervention, it could well be that practically no Black Rhino would remain alive in Kenya today.

Peter was too ill to attend the reopening of the Ithumba Headquarters on February l0th and perhaps it was just as well, because for him it would also have been an emotional event as well.   He would, no doubt, have recalled another less formal occasion - the housewarming party that marked his tenureship of the Northern Area when he came to occupy the same house now renovated for Daniel Woodley, where a bougainvillea planted by Daphne's mother from a cutting struggles in purple profusion amongst the tangled undergrowth of the intervening years.   On that occasion, due to the remoteness of the venue, guests were few, so the few inmates of the only lodge that then existed in the Park - Aruba - were rounded up to swell the ranks of the revellers!    It turned out to be an occasion that they, too, would never be able to forget!

Just before his death, Peter often made reference to a specific quote, which was so apt that it appeared on the Service Sheet for his Memorial in Devon.   It was this: -  

"There are two sorts of people in the world - those that do the work and those that take the credit.   It's best to be within the first category, because there, the competition is less!"  

The year 2001 had an encouraging beginning.   For the first time in 65 years, the flamingos returned to breed in Lake Nakuru and more rain fell in the first week of January than during the entire rainy season of October, November and December promising a protracted green season.   But then, the degradation of Kenya's forests began to dominate the Press, predicting a gloomier scenario with long-term repercussions for everyone and everything, and highlighting the endemic corruption that plagues the corridors of power.  The abrupt removal from High Office of Richard Leakey and his so-called "Dream Team" in April seemed to exacerbate this, but generating spirited debate which created a diversion from the monotony of disappearing forests, rising crime, and the endless speculation about the forthcoming elections in 2002.   However, notwithstanding all this, somehow in Kenya life flows along regardless, for it is still a beautiful country, with wonderful wild places in which to find escape, where the stresses of today's troubled world fade and friendly people still retain the sense of humour that surmounts the hardship of everyday living.   Having been independent now for close on 40 years, Kenyans are sufficiently seasoned to wait and endure, ever hopeful of better times to come, something that is infectious.   "Sufficient undo the day is the evil thereof" is a good guideline for sanity!

For the Kenya Wildlife Service, the debate about the wisdom of culling and whether or not to reinstate hunting, raged on as an enduring headache, those in favour mainly well connected wealthy white land-owners; and those against, ordinary people of all colours, who can see the stocks of game disappearing before their very eyes.   Apart from the so-called "legal" cropping of wild game, the illegal bush meat trade involving the setting of wire snares around watering points, along Park boundaries and game trails, takes a devastating daily toll of wild animals of all sorts, and causes immeasurable cruelty and suffering.   The results of our de-snaring teams, as do those of the Youth for Conservation Club (run by our ex employee, Josphat Ngonyo), testify to this fact for between us, we have lifted hundreds of snares over only very limited areas and released dozens of struggling animals whose chilling cries of agony sear one's soul.   Many others are found already dead, their meat draped in trees or already heading for markets in Nairobi by train and bus.

This form of poaching is not sustainable and not only subsistence either.   Like ivory it is driven by commercial incentives and involves influential cartels that seem able to neutralise the efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Service authorities to do anything about it - a Pandora's box unwisely opened that seems almost impossible to close.   What everyone already knows was endorsed by the findings of an Independent Commission where even the legal culling is subjected to corruption and the cheating of quotas.

The so-called "pilot" cropping project, originally designed to last just two years, has continued unabated for the past ten.  Zebra meat is still sold as dog meat; wild game still offered on the menus of up-market restaurants, small antelope such as Thomson's gazelle still becoming an even rarer sight and Nairobi National Park devoid of the "meat species" now for most of the year.  As I write this newsletter in mid November, no wildebeest have returned to their dry season range of Nairobi National Park for the first time ever.   Why?   None are so blind as those who will not see, and it seems that over this thorny issue, no one that has the power to do anything about it, wants to see! 

But, for us, as ever, it was the Orphans' Project that has dominated our year and kept us so busy that we have had little time for anything else.   The man in charge of the Trust's Tsavo operation is a Moi University graduate, trained in Engineering, named Isaac Maina, whose courage and stamina so impressed us when he came as a Youth for Conservation Volunteer on our de-snaring team, that we employed him as the Orphans' Supervisor at the Tsavo end.   He is a small man, with a wide smile, quietly spoken and at first impression, appearing somewhat hesitant and timid.   In reality, he is far from both.    He has the heart and courage of a lion, undaunted at having to wrestle an elephant ten times his weight into captivity, when most others would instinctively give it a wide berth! 

Isaac is a man of many surprises, apart from being an effective intermediary between the Wildlife Service and us.   He fixes the Windmills and Elephant Grids as best he can, attempts any rescue, even that of a hippo from the mud of Aruba when he walked on planks laid across the mud, and almost fell in himself.   Recently, he towed a bogged buffalo free and got roundly charged for his pains, racing at top speed across the flats in our old blue tractor, only just managing to keep ahead of the buffalo's horns as all the helping hands, including Simon Trevor, hung on for dear life as best they could!   For a song, Isaac has overseen the building of the Malaika Memorial House, utilising bits and pieces scrounged or left lying about.   All it now lacks is its roof and this is something that we have asked Care for the Wild to cover from the funds they have raised through a special appeal for a Memorial to an elephant that graced their literature for 12 years.   Once completed, the Malaika Memorial House will serve a useful function as well as being a fitting Memorial to our precious elephant that died in childbirth last year.   It will serve as Isaac Maina's home and office.

We were astonished when one day Isaac's quiet voice announced that we had another orphan in Voi and that it was 14 months old, captured by him and three other Keepers with a little back up from the Chinese road workers.   We were incredulous, because not only was this the easiest capture we had ever experienced, but also in view of the size of the orphan involved, no mean feat.   Normally the rescue of an orphaned elephant this size entails the services of a Vet equipped with dart gun and immobilizing drugs, plus many strong arms to both subdue the elephant, and also to load it.   This new orphan had been rescued from the area of the Tsavo river bridge with no frills and no fuss, captured and returned safely to the Voi Elephant Stockades in the back of our old Greens Truck.   Meanwhile, back in Nairobi, we remained blissfully unaware that anything untoward was taking place and still can't quite figure out how they managed to load it!

We named the new elephant "Tsavo" having been found at the Tsavo Bridge where maneating lions held up work on the railway at the turn of the century for six months having devoured some 70 Asian workers.   Instantly, the little elephant became the cosseted special "baby" of "Emily" displacing "Mweiga", who had enjoyed that status previously.   He slotted in like a veteran, within just a day or two accepting milk from the Keepers, albeit with a display of "threat" body language, throwing his weight around the other orphans confident in the knowledge that he could count on Emily's protection.   To begin with, however, he was prone to wandering off in amongst the wild herds the orphans met on their travels, and this sent Emily into a spin.   Entrusting her adopted family to the care of Aitong, she'd head off in pursuit until she managed to retrieve and return him.   Now, both she and Aitong keep a close watch on him whenever they are in the company of wild elephants.

The displacement of "Mweiga" by "Tsavo", had a visible impact on this orphan's behaviour.   She became much more attention seeking, prone to wandering away from the others to deliberately create an alert.   Aitong, who is a very conscientious little "Nannie" immediately became sensitive to Mweiga's emotional needs, and spent a great deal of time comforting her, something that has continued.

Three-year-old Mweiga, has long been a worry to us because she is a weakling, labouring up any incline, always tail end Charlie returning to the Stockades and prone to collapsing easily if pushed by one of the others.   To begin with we thought she had a leg problem, or possibly a mineral deficiency, but supplements have failed to register any improvement.   Now we fear that she may have a more serious disability, perhaps involving a heart condition, and with trepidation we have to wait for time to tell.

Later on in the year, we heard from Isaac Maina that there were reports of another orphan near the Tsavo bridge, this time older than "Tsavo", well over one year old, so, as usual, an immediate rescue was initiated from Nairobi.   As it transpired, the K.W.S. Vets were going down to Voi by road anyway to deal with another adult elephant dying of arrow wounds, so we were spared the expense of a charter.    Long before the professionals ever reached Voi, however, Isaac's monotone again announced that we had not one, but two, additional elephants in the Voi Stockades!   Further incredulous interrogation revealed that he and our Keepers had set off on their own initiative to rescue the reported orphan, and that whilst they were subduing it, another young elephant burst out of nearby bushes, obviously alone, and obviously yet another orphan, so they nabbed that one too!  Sadly, the smaller calf was already suffering from advanced pneumonia, and died several days later.  

We called the survivor "Mvita", the Swahili word for "war", since her capture took place close to First World War entrenchments on a small hill overlooking the famous bridge of man-eating lion fame, and which was guarded against German invasion way back in 1914.

Earlier Isaac Maina, with the help of Dr. Kasiki and our Keepers, brought in another two orphans on two separate occasions several months apart, both victims of the same open manhole on the aging Mombasa pipeline, which is well past its "sell-by" date.   We named the first one "Maungu" after a nearby hill and the next one "Ndara", the name of another nearby hill.   When these two orphans met up at the Stockades, there was no question that they knew one another, for recognition was immediate, and what had obviously been a close friendship in the wild, has been perpetuated ever since.  Unhappily, little  "Ndara" has a deep tusk wound on her back, so deep that the bone of the spine is visible, probably caused by her desperate mother as she struggled to extract her baby.   This has needed regular veterinary attention to keep the wound clean, but after a long haul involving two anaesthetics, we think we are winning.   Maungu has been happy to keep her little friend company at the Stockades pending her recovery and each day when the other youngsters return in the evening, there is always a tender greeting, especially from Kinna, who gently lays a comforting trunk across Ndara's back in a display of elephant sympathy and understanding.  

With so many orphans now in Tsavo, all of varying age, it is touching indeed that Emily and Aitong view their erstwhile human family as Co-Carers of their large adopted elephant family, comfortable to entrust the babies into the care of the Keepers in three separate groups.   They seem to understand perfectly that the youngsters still in need of milk must remain closer to home, the Keepers simply a trusted extension of their elephant unit.   Within Emily's group, both Mweiga and Tsavo are still milk dependent, and either Emily or Aitong diligently escort them back for their milk ration always on time.  Those younger still, or who are new and need more frequent milk feeds, are usually kept within the compound electric fence, and are known as the "Baby Group".   These include the last three Nursery inmates moved to Tsavo at the end of January, namely Yatta, Kinna and Mukwaju whose group now includes Maungu and Ndara.   "Natumi's group" include the eight Nursery inmates moved in 2000, who are older and more independent, and the third group are those who are bonded entirely to Emily and Aitong, who venture further afield and consequently have more to do with the wild herds.    Members of Natumi's group sometimes join them, also fraternising freely with the wild herds, and playing with "calves of their size", as dictated by elephant etiquette.

And then there are the Big Boys, i.e. the older bulls who are now independent of the human family, free spirits who are fully integrated into the wild herds but who still keep in touch.   These include Dika, Edo, Lewa and Uaso, and Ndume, not forgetting our Big Girls, namely Lissa and her calf Lara, and Mpenzi her Nannie who often turn up in the company of their wild friends.   Prominent amongst the regular wild friends are two Matriarchs - Catherine and her family and a cow known by the Keepers as "Naom" who has recently had a small calf, which is greatly coveted by Emily and Aitong.

Every orphaned elephant deprived of a natural family yearns to build another, for, to an elephant, the most important element in life is the family.   All female elephants are naturally exceedingly maternal, even when very young, the older babies protecting and "mothering" those smaller.   One would have thought that Emily and Aitong had enough on their plate with the 17 youngsters within their fold, but they have found Naom's new baby absolutely irresistible.   Attempts to snatch another mother's child is not exactly the way to make friends, but in the troubled elephant world of today, where natural families are few, it is a common phenomenon, and one that we have seen played out many times whilst raising the orphans.   Eleanor was guilty of trying to take Mary's calf from her, Malaika was always attracted to tiny wild babies, and more recently Emily has made several attempts to abduct Naom's tiny calf, trailing the herd for hours on end, hoping to be able to entice it away.    On one occasion she and Aitong ganged up to try and drive away a young Nannie in order to pull off the kidnap, but this brought a sharp reaction from the rightful mother, who sent both packing in no mean manner!  

The move of Yatta, Kinna and Mukwaju in January was, of course, an exciting event that we all monitored closely to see how they would react to the others who had shared the Nursery with them the previous year.  As we anticipated, the reunion was exceedingly touching for recognition was again immediate and the joy of all, heart-warming to witness.   A little later Emily and the older elephants arrived to meet the new arrivals, something that is always charged with overwhelming excitement.    Aitong, Loisaba and Mweiga dashed around the periphery trumpeting with delight, Tsavo pretended not to even notice the arrival the three newcomers, and Emily hurried over to introduce herself.   Much to everyone's astonishment, whilst Yatta and Mukwaju clung nervously to their Keepers' sides, Kinna confronted Emily and punched her soundly on the trunk!   Incredulous, Emily's ears shot out at right angles and for a few moments as she towered over the small stranger, we all held our breath expecting an admonishment.   However, instead, she simply gently laid her trunk affectionately across Kinna's back, and everyone was able to heave a sigh of relief.   In no time at all, all the elephants were simply one happy family, the newcomers not even too unphased by the appearance of 12 year old "Edo", who is huge and impressive, dwarfing them all.   He and Uaso just happened to turn up unexpectedly, as so often happens at such moments, having been away for a long time with the wild herds.

The reunion of orphan friends after a long, or even a short, absence from the main group is always a very joyous event - trumpets and excitement as the "visitor" approaches, the intertwining of trunks when they meet, and subsequent play wrestling illustrating elephant delight in a demonstrative way.   Edo is a great favourite with all the smaller orphans, his title amongst us of "Uncle" well earned.   He is always gentle, always well behaved, always quiet and dignified, a joy to have around, as is 13 year old Dika, who likewise is a very impressive fellow who walks tall emulating high ranking bulls, and who has the respect of all the other Big Boys.   Conspicuous by their absence all year and therefore our real successes, have been Taru, Chuma, Ajok and Lominyek who are obviously so comfortable amongst their wild friends that they have felt no desire to return.   However, there is one Big Boy who has caused us a great deal of headache and heart-searching this year, and that is Ndume, who has always been the most adventurous and the most stubborn with a 'penchant' for "forbidden fruits", a trait that manifested itself early in infancy even as a Nairobi Nursery inmate.

He has chummed up with some renegade wild bulls who undertake regular sorties into the settlement of Voi town beyond the boundaries of the Park where there are, of course, all sorts of "forbidden fruits" such as rubbish tips, tomato patches and even a pig farm where by inserting his trunk through a window, he can munch on delicious "swill" all day long.   Unhappily, the electric fence protecting the people from the elephants, and the elephants from the people, is not always sufficiently charged to provide an effective deterrent, and in any case comes to an abrupt end just beyond the Voi River.   The riverbed itself provides an alternative exit point, added to which Ndume has been taught by his wild friends to walk the "tightrope" of the so-called elephant proof grid on the main entrance road, where crossbars across a trench normally appear unstable and unfit to carry the weight of an elephant.

One day, Ndume returned with an arrowhead embedded in his trunk.   Suspecting that it was probably poisoned, a Vet was flown down in a chartered plane to remove the metal tip, and this involved one abortive attempt, because the immobilising drugs were old, another plane trip and finally surgery under anaesthesia followed by confinement to that he could be monitored for possible ill affects from the poison.   Fortunately, although the arrow was poisoned, the poison must also have been stale, so Ndume survived, but was still no wiser.   Soon he was off again, and all the while both the community and the Warden were becoming visibly less tolerant.   The last straw was when he took little Lewa and Imenti along too, and whilst Imenti escaped unscathed (and much chastened) both Ndume and Lewa returned wounded with deep gashes that again demanded veterinary intervention, again, considerable expense, and again another chartered plane!

By now it was apparent that Ndume was set to end up the way of many others during the year - shot as "problem elephants" on "problem animal control".   With heavy hearts, we had to make the only decision now open to us, and that was to move all three bulls who now knew how to circumvent the electric fence, to a safer destination further from a Park boundary.   In consultation with the Wildlife authorities, it was decided that they should be transferred to the Ngulia Valley of Tsavo West, where the vegetation is more lush, water more plentiful and permanent, and where Ndume's ex Keeper, John Mbulu, now working as a driver for the Ngulia Safari Lodge, was on hand to try and keep an eye out for them. 

The move of these three bulls, very proficiently undertaken by the Wildlife Service Capture Team, who had recently successfully moved 52 elephants from Sweetwater's Ranch to Meru National Park, went smoothly and according to plan on 5th October, and is described in detail on our web page.   However, at the other end, once free of his travelling crate, Ndume took off at speed, obviously fearful of another darting.   It took a long time for our Keepers to round him up and coax him back to join the other two, and finally, with heavy hearts, the Keepers left all three quietly munching on a generous handout of Copra taken along as a parting gift.   Back in Nairobi there was sorrow and gloom on that day, for we understood how deeply our three charges would miss the other orphans in far off Voi, almost 100 miles away.   We hoped, however, that the problem of Ndume had been satisfactorily solved for his own good, and that Imenti and Lewa would not only be company for one another, but would stick with him.

It turned out that this was not to be.   Three days short of a month, who should turn up at the Elephant Stockades in Voi, but Ndume!   He was back, greeted with unbridled joy by all, especially by Emily and Aitong and later by Edo, with whom he hung out for a day or two before peeling off to find his wild friends again.   So far, however, he has given the Pig Farm a miss, and we now hope and pray that he might just have learnt his lesson, and that if he does turn up there, a man that resembles the dreaded K.W.S. Vets might persuade him to leave rapidly!   Time will tell!

How did he find his way back?   We know that elephants can communicate over distance with infrasound, but we also know that they possess many mysterious navigational abilities that we humans have yet to fully appreciate and understand.   Ndume left Voi sedated, confined in a crate and the destination in which he was to find himself was much lusher and much nicer than home - or so we thought.   He has never been beyond the precincts of Voi, to the best of our knowledge, so how he even knew how to get back home is a mystery to us!

Deep in our hearts we, too, could not but be joyful to see Ndume again, although we knew this was not the intended solution.  We now wonder whether we will be seeing Imenti and Lewa back in due course, for noone loves Emily more than Imenti.   However, knowing Imenti as we do, we doubt that he will have the confidence it takes for him and Lewa to make the journey on their own.    Instead, we hope that they will team up with some of the big resident bulls of the Ngulia Valley upon whom they will develop the usual hero worship to which young bulls are prone, and that this will help them to make a considered decision to stay put!

The adventures of Ndume, Lewa and Imenti have generated a lot of heart-searching debate as to the wisdom of raising the orphaned bulls so close to a sensitive Park boundary.   We are beginning to consider seeking permission to establish another similar facility in the Ngulia Valley in Tsavo West National Park, so that our little bulls can grow up there, and become established further removed from temptation and trouble.

In February, an exciting Nursery event was the arrival of little "Mweya" from Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, flown in by a Helicopter kindly loaned for the purpose by its owner, Mr. Halvor Astrup and flown by Phil Mathews.   Her transfer from Uganda entailed 6 weeks of intense high level diplomacy plus endless permissions and permits, during which time she enjoyed round the clock care from German expatriate wives and National Park Rangers, who followed our instructions from Nairobi diligently.   Her special formula milk was provided by Hans and Barbara Rohring of Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas and when she eventually arrived, she did so in excellent condition, but for one behavioural aspect which caused us some problems. 

Apparently, this tiny orphan, who was newborn when rescued, having simply wandered into a fishing village bordering the Park, shared the Uganda Education Centre where she was kept with some orphaned chimpanzees, whom she obviously found somewhat "pushy".   She soon learnt that the easiest and quickest way to subdue them was by flattening them with a charge, and in our Nairobi Nursery she viewed the human mud bath visitors as larger chimps in need of even more determined treatment!

There wasn't much we could do about this at the time, other than warn people in advance that our tiny newcomer was a bit "pushy".   Before sterner measures could be taken to teach Mweya what she could, and could not do, around humans, it was important that she first settle in, understand the word "No", become fond of her Keepers and wish to please them, responding initially to tone of voice and the waggling of a finger.  We hoped that this would suffice, but eventually were forced to resort to the Cattle Prod to make Mweya understand that flattening humans was not acceptable behaviour, for whilst this might appear amusing when an elephant is very small, it is far from so later!   Thankfully, after just a few prods, she took the hint, although every now and then a gleam creeps into her mischievous little eyes, and she simply can't resist a mock charge, clearly revelling in the response this provokes amongst the onlookers!   In spite of this, however, or perhaps because of it, Mweya heads the list as favourite orphan within our digital fostering scheme, top of the pops in terms of popularity.   Her spirited personality and exuberance never ceases to charm all whom she encounters! 

The move in July of elephants from Sweetwater's Ranch in  Nanyuki to Meru National Park was an unmitigated success, with the loss of only five out of 57.    One of these was our orphan "Sweet Sally", whose mother fled upon arrival, abandoning her little calf who, probably unbeknownst to her, was in a separate crate.   The journey had been particularly harrowing because the convoy became bogged in mud for many hours, and the sound of diesel engines, especially when revved, is anathema to elephants.  After a two day aerial search failed to locate the mother, "Sweet Sally" had to become an orphan of the Trust, so named for her origin - Sweetwater's Ranch, with  "Sally" attached by special request in memory of a brave girl named Sally Dunne,  diagnosed with terminal cancer in her thirties, whose one wish before she died was to do a safari in Kenya and visit the orphaned elephants, both of which she was able to do.

"Sweet Sally" was unlike any orphan we had ever had.   She refused all milk for a full 10 days, surviving only on rehydration salts, in such deep grief that we feared for her life as she began to waste away before our very eyes.  Our Keepers were desperate, and eventually it took the magic touch of our Head Keeper, Mishak Nzimbi, who was hurriedly recalled from Tsavo, to persuade Sweet Sally to try to live.   Mishak's miraculous touch and endless understanding and patience is legendary, and it is small wonder therefore that he is the favourite Keeper of every orphan that has ever passed through our hands.   Two days later, where everyone else had failed, he had succeeded - "Sweet Sally" began taking her milk, so there was celebration all round, because in so doing, we knew she had overcome an enormous psychological obstacle to recovery.   Now, she can't get enough of it!

Three other new Nursery inmates have recently been brought in - little "Thoma" from Thomson's Falls, a tragic victim of "problem animal control", brutalized upon falling into the hands of the irate tribesmen who had suffered the depredation of her herd, and who, like "Sweet Sally" needed a lot of tender loving care in order to come back to life.    The next two, like Mweya, arrived on our doorstep by Helicopter, both rescued at different times by Ian Craig of Lewa Downs from a natural rock "well", 20 miles Northeast of Shaba National Reserve.   Both were victims of the same rock fissure known as Kasima Hamisi, which is a watering point utilized during the dry season by Samburu livestock as well as the wildlife.   Clearly it is a dangerous place that must have taken a very heavy toll of babies over the years, for the elephants, crazed with thirst, crowd around the hole, struggling to drink, and the surrounding rocks are worn smooth by the passage of feet, and when wet become slippery.

At Ian Craig's request, the first tiny elephant, a female whose age on arrival was estimated at 6 weeks, is called "Seraa" after the name of the area.   The next one was a little bull of only 3 weeks, and we called him "Solango", the Samburu word for "hole".   The drowned corpse of a third, not so fortunate, tiny calf was found beneath the body of "Solango", who was desperately treading water in order to try and keep afloat.   Both Seraa and Solango are, indeed, most fortunate to have been retrieved,  for Ian Craig visits this remote corner only very seldom and just happened to be there on these two occasions discussing an eco-tourism possibility with Elders of the tribe.

When rearing the orphaned elephants, heartbreak is never far away, and this year we have had our fair share of tragedies, aside from the usual anxiety when a calf is unwell.   Baby "Mallu", rescued by tribesmen of Loisaba Ranch, who was held in a manyatta for several days, died suddenly of pneumonia in one of her lungs, which was undetected by the Vet.   Then, after a promising beginning, we lost little "Charles Sagana", the baby rescued from Mount Kenya by a Kikuyu farmer, one of the "firsts" of last year's Newsletter.   The third casualty was the calf rescued with "Mvita" whom we named "Salaita" after the famous First World War battle of Salaita Hill and who also succumbed to pneumonia.   Then our yearling Nursery elephant, Mulika, who, like Mweiga, has always been somewhat fragile, sent us into a spin by suddenly producing a shovel full of pus and blood in her urine.   For many days we feared for her life but fortunately just managed to save her in time.   Two additional losses saddened us greatly, one a baby that wandered into Satao tented camp alone, who died soon after capture and another tragic little elephant, severely mauled by lions as it was held fast in the mud of Aruba, and whose wounds were so severe that it had to be euthanased.   There is always comfort to be drawn from each tragedy, however, knowing that the calf died surrounded by love and care, and in more comfortable circumstances than would otherwise have been the case.

A very worrying development this year has been the poaching of at least six of Amboseli's famous elephants, some well known Matriarchs of Cynthia Moss' study group, shot by licensed hunters having crossed the border into Tanzania, and apparently even advertised as hunting targets on the web.   Yet others have been poached nearer home, found dead with gunshot wounds and their tusks hacked out, apparently victims of a Maasai marksman who has yet to be brought to book.   In Kenya poaching incidents occurred only spasmodically; three elephants died in March North of the Galana River in Tsavo East, apparently killed by Somali poachers, and others on the Ranches that border this Park.   A few others succumbed to poisoned arrow poaching and too many to the "problem animal control" that posed such a hazard for our wayward bulls.  Cause for concern was the fact that the aerial surveillance was not quite what it should have been in Tsavo for much of the year.   With just one plane available, it is impossible to cover both Tsavo East and West effectively, which means that other carcases could have remained undetected.  By and large, however, for Kenya's elephants, certainly those within National Park boundaries and the well-protected private ranches of Laikipia, the year has been peaceful compared with many others and the human/elephant conflict has taken the heaviest toll.

The Kenya Wildlife Service, under Nehemiah Rotich, has, in our opinion, performed exceptionally well under very difficult circumstances.   Many people view him as one of the best Directors the Service has ever had.   However, as this Newsletter nears completion, he has suddenly been sent on compulsory leave with no explanation given.   This has left Wildlife Service morale dented to a dangerously low ebb.   Anxious times lie ahead, adding yet more anxiety to a year already dogged by disaster.    

Particularly impressive has been the record of the K.W.S. Veterinarians and the Capture Unit who, under new leadership, have proved very effective in saving the lives of many elephants and others that would otherwise have been doomed.   One such candidate was a wayward elephant bull who suddenly turned up on the Kitengela boundary of Nairobi National Park, something that has never before happened in living memory and which caused quite a stir.   Within hours he was safely immobilized, loaded onto the Capture Unit's specially designed truck known as "Hannibal", and on his way back to his Amboseli home.  

Now for some rhino good news!    Magnum and Magnette will be 5 years old at the end of January 2002, and are now fully independent of their Keepers, integrated into the resident rhino population of Nairobi National Park.   However, they return almost daily to check on two-year-old Makosa and prompt the Keepers into trundling them out again with a wheelbarrow of food as the incentive.   Magnette is magnificent.   She more resembles the great Indian armour plated specimen than a mere Black, with deep side striations on her body and huge bottom folds adorning her rear.   Makosa is huge for his age, sturdy, somewhat over-weight and as feisty as a bull rhino should be.   He promises to be a force to be reckoned with when grown, the tiny two day old little lizard looking baby we were presented with two years ago on the 2nd August now just a distant memory.   He is now friendly with, and accepted by, the two big rhinos, and whenever they turn up, spins into an excited frenzy, challenging Magnum who good naturedly endures endless butting under the chin in the one sided mock bouts Makosa so enjoys.   Considering that just one swipe from Magnum would send him flying, his tolerance and gentleness is remarkable.   But then Magnum is much more predictable than his companion, Magnette, so Makosa, very wisely, tends to give her a wide berth! 

Magnette obviously came into estrous for the first time this year, an event that was marked by a radical deterioration in her already volatile temperament.   She roared like an enraged buffalo at poor Magnum whenever he approached and even sent the Keepers, with whom she is usually tolerant, off rapidly in flight!    We hope that she may have been mated by a wild suitor, since Magnum is still too young to be much good in that respect.   (Male rhinos must be high ranking and round about 10 years old before they qualify as breeding bulls).   One day, during this tense period, he turned up looking very sorry for himself, sporting deep holes under his chin and in his rear end.   Since he had obviously been at the sharp end of the suitor's horn, we wished he would take the hint and let Magnette get on with her love affair without him as the unwanted third party!   Eventually, however, things settled down again, and both returned to their usual routine - inseparable as they make regular visits back home,  thrilling visitors to the Park as they go about their business further afield and often turning up unexpectedly to join Makosa in the mudbath , thereby thrilling all our visitors as well.  It is an exciting prospect that perhaps in 18 months time, there will be another rhino baby in Nairobi National Park.

It is also comforting for Daphne to be able to end the year in the knowledge that "the book" might yet be able to become a reality.   With two daughters and their respective spouses all nearer home, each endowed with individual talents that compliment the whole, the Trust can be entrusted to other safe hands in order to enable her to set about this final mammoth task with an easy mind.  It is also comforting to know that we now have over fifty fully trained and experienced Elephant Handlers, all quite capable, given the necessary backup, of raising an infant elephant.   They have proved themselves competent to fill the void left in an elephant's heart by the loss of the natural family and do so very proficiently.   Meanwhile, Angela's two little boys, Daphne's grandsons, promise another generation of movers and shakers to carry on the fight for the animals, if their present traits are anything to go by, and Jill's two beautiful little girls will provide the softening touch.

Thanks to our input, two other little elephants thrive in countries far removed from Kenya, "Phoenix" in Zambia, and "Satara" in Knysna, South Africa.   They, too, are making an impact on the minds and hearts of people further South.  

In view of escalating postal costs, a downturn in the funding that we thought we could always bank upon for our Orphans Project, more urgent now that we have a veritable herd in our care, the Trust has decided to forego the frills, and focus all its resources on the tasks in hand.  We would like to take the opportunity of this earlier than usual Newsletter to wish all our friends and supporters A Very Happy Christmas and a Better, More Prosperous and, above all, a more Peaceful and tranquil 2002.  

But no Newsletter of the Trust's would be complete without again a word of special thanks to many special people, particularly Wyeth Laboratories and Sharon John who have again provided the re-worked milk for all our Nursery elephants; to Don Barrett for paving the way for this to continue; to Dave Jarvis and Darien McChesney (Ches) for all their help in getting it to us, not forgetting the Bryes Norton and Batlisk Boys and Girls for the part played by them in this respect.   We are eternally grateful to Phil Mathews, and Halvor Astrup for the use of the Helicopter and also to Simon Everett who kindly came to the rescue with his to bring little Solango to safety.   As always endearing gratitude is due to Mike Seton for all the rescues he has undertaken, the Kenya Wildlife Service Veterinarians as well as our own, not forgetting Tom Dolan, and BOA who have responded to many pleas for help on many occasions.  We are deeply grateful to Paul and Natasha Weld Dixon for all our bedding needs of hay , and indebted to the following organisations for their support - Eledrive, Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas, Vrienden van de Olifant, Actionmeinschaft Artenschutz, Elefriends Australia, The Australian Fund for Animals, The International Fund for Animal Welfare, Elefanten und Artschutzverein, Canadian Kenya Wildlife Fund, The Plum Foundation, The Kerrigan Waves Charitable Trust, and Care for the Wild's foster-parents.   Our heartfelt gratitude also is due to our own tried and tested donors, who give what they can, when they can, and if they can, and also our own on-line foster-parents whose support goes in full to the orphans

NB.   In order to economise, we will not again be mailing our Annual Newsletter to addresses on our entire Mailing List in the future, but instead the Newsletter will be posted on the web every December for the web friendly supporters to print off for themselves if they so wish.   Should any of our supporters not be web friendly, and would like a mailed version instead, please let us know, confirming their address.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL OUR DONORS

Everyone and Anyone can help save an Elephant and offer it a quality of life in wild terms when grown by fostering an orphan directly through our website or by donating on line, and in so doing becoming part of that elephant's extended financial family.

www. sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

Beware of sending cheques through the ordinary post to Kenya, due to the risk of interception and fraud.   If you do want to mail a check direct to us in Nairobi please use one of the following couriers - Federal Express, UPS, TNT or DHL being sure to put our physical address:-

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi National Park workshop Entrance, Magadi Road, Nairobi 00503, Kenya. Tel:- +254 20 891 996: Fax: +254 20 890 053.

Alternatively donations can be posted to:-

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
158 Newbattle Abbey Crescent,
Eskbank,
Midlothian EH22 3LR. Scotland, U.K. 
Tel:- +44 (0)131 454-0753

Aside from our DIRECT ONLINE DONATION FACILITY, the cheapest and surest way of getting donations to us is to wire them through our Nairobi Bank's corresponding overseas Bank.   It is important to use the corresponding bank details as well, all of which are listed below.   Please Email us to tell us which bank and how much so that we can confirm its arrival.

(Email Address: info@sheldrickwildlifetrust.org)

 US$ DOLLARS TO KENYA

US$ should be sent to:-

The American Express Bank Ltd.,
Swift Address: AEIBUS33 for the credit of
The Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd,
Account No. 731141
SWIFT
address: CBAFKENX,
and advise Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., to pay:
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Dollar Account No. 0-151-270-506 using MT100.

STERLING POUNDS TO KENYA

Sterling Pounds should be sent to:-

HSBC Bank plc,
SWIFT address: MIDLGB 22
For the credit of:-
The Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd.,
Account No. 38142142,
SWIFT
address: CBAFKENX
And advise Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., to Pay:-
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Account No. 0-151-270-018 Using MT 100

For more information on How To Help please click here.

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