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 The Rescue of Rorogi - 11/22/2013
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Rorogi’s fate was reported to us on the 9th of October by the Kenya Wildlife Service and our Faru Anti poaching team was sent to Kwale County to respond.

Nature is a mystery in itself, but luck certainly played its part in this situation. It is difficult to explain how this young milk dependent elephant managed to survive over a month in isolation, independent of her mother, and herd, and all this amid people! The surrounding communities (Akamba, Duruma, Taita, and Kikuyus) could easily have messed with the animal given their lifestyles and economic activities, but she remained safe thanks to Mr. Steven Muinde, the owner of the farm on which this orphaned baby Elephant found refuge, and also thanks to the Kinango KWS station head quarters to whom the report was first relayed who then contacted our team to assist in saving this calf’s life. Rorogoi was found in Kwale district closer to the coast than Tsavo. She has been named after the area where she was found.

About to leave for the return journey  The calf is captured

Restraining the calf  Loading the calf into the vehicle

Ready to go to the airstrip

The mystery is how Rorogi found herself on Mr. Steven Muinde’s farm. The area is densely settled with plenty of agricultural activities and plenty of livestock too. The distance between this farm and any nearby ranches associated with wildlife is great, and it remains unknown as to where Rorogoi’s herd actually originated from. Was it Tsavo, the dispersal ranches abutting Tsavo, Shimba Hills National Park or the Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary? The reason for Rorogoi being orphaned remains unknown too, but most likely a result of poaching or human wildlife conflict. This young orphaned elephant by chance roamed onto elephant friendly Muinde’s 20 acre farm in Kwale County, where there was green vegetation, water for drinking and a small swamp for mud wallowing with some thickets here and there for hiding. She took refuge for all this time trying to remain safe. Thankfully it had recently rained which can be the only explanation of how Rorogoi managed to survive such a long period without her mother. She owes her life to a kind man who kept her from harms way, as the Duruma tribe in this region are extremely partial to elephant meat, and all forms of bush meat. 

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Faru anti poaching team went together with KWS armed rangers to rescue her. They arrived late evening on the 9th of October and were unable to locate her until the morning of the 10th of October. They captured her and drove her in the back of their anti poaching Land rover to Tsavo where our rescue team was waiting to airlift her to the Nairobi Nursery in Nairobi National Park.

In the back of the vehicle at the airstip  Rescue teams at the airstrip

Loading the calf into the plane  The calf is loaded into the plane

In the plane on the way back

She arrived in emaciated condition, very thin and extremely fearful.

The calf is offloaded  The calf arrives at the nursery

The calf is carried into the stockade and the restraints are untied  The orphan on its feet in the stocakde

Rorogoi before she joined the nursery group  Rorogoi's first day at the nursery

She very soon latched onto her bottle and it was not long before she was out with the other orphans during the day in the park.

Rorogoi making friends with the keepers  Rorogoi out in the bush with the others

Rorogoi enjoying lunch   Rorogoi having milk

However her first days were rather fraught as she remained extremely fearful of humans and would take off into the forest escaping from the Keepers and then be unable to find her way back to the Nursery herd. The first week we had to undertake a number of ‘Rorogoi rescues’ which required a team of Keepers scouring over 15 square kms of Nairobi Park in an effort to find her, as she is small enough to be vulnerable to predators.

Rorogoi running  Out in the bush with the other orphans

She soon settled down however, and is now comfortable with the Keepers, the visitors and of course relishes the company of the other orphans having been deprived of elephant company for so long.

Rorogoi and Lentili at visting

 She is clearly a very robust little elephant who has survived so many traumas before being lucky enough to be rescued thanks to many people going out of their way to ensure help came her way.

Rorogoi with the rest of the nursery group  Rorogoi says hello

Rorogoi

   

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