If you would like to see a list of the updates available please click here.

 Kungu's rescue - 9/9/2008
View a Printable Version of this Update



It has been a very busy time at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust with yet another rescue, this time from the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya.  The Conservation Trust is a successful community conservation program run by the proud Samburu tribes people, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their livestock.  Namunyak is situated in the picturesque area wrapped around the spectacular Mathews Range, the southern end of a chain of mountains that run in a north-south direction and across the savannah plains of the Samburu District.

Namunyak The Conservation Trust is a successful community conservation program run by the Samburu  Samburu warrior

Looking towards Namunyak  Namunyak Conservation area



On the morning of the 7th of September a tiny elephant calf was discovered fallen down a well dug in the steep Ngongu lugga, situated 4 kms from Sarara Camp.  Samburu herdsmen happened upon the tiny calf when they came to Nkungu wells to water their livestock.  Obviously the elephant herd had tried to extract their baby, but due to the nature of the well, edged with rugged rocks coupled with steep sides, this had proved impossible.  How long the calf was trapped there is not known, we suspect all night, as that morning there was no evidence of any elephant herds.  The area serves as a critical wildlife refuge particularly for elephants as they move seasonally between the Mathews Range and Mt. Kenya and the Ngare Ndare Forests.

Nkungu wells, in Ngongu lugga where the community regularly bring their livestock to drink  Nkungu Wells, where the community regularly bring their livestock to drink

Watering livestock  It was during the night that the calf fell down the well in a lugga like this one


 
A runner was immediately sent to alert the Namunyak wildlife scouts, who were able to extract the baby from the Well and alert Richard Moller from Lewa Conservancy over the radio.  He in turn called The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and a rescue was mobilized.    It became evident that he calf was battered and bruised from his ordeal, with a swollen chin and sprained back legs, coupled with this he was absolutely exhausted.  He is tiny, and very young, with his umbilical cord just visible, we suspect he is no older than two weeks.

Approaching Namunyak  Coming in to land

Waiting for the calf to arrive at the Namunyak airstrip  On landing our Keepers open the medical supplies and prepare themselves for the arrival of the calf


 
The rescue team and aircraft landed on Namunyak's Ndondo airstrip at 2.00pm.  The calf was driven to the airstrip in the back of a land cruiser, accompanied by the men who had help rescue him. They handed over their tiny charge to the Keepers, who immediately attempted to feed him milk and rehydration fluid.  His little legs were shaking, his heart beating rapidly and his temperature high, indicating extreme stress and fatigue.  This coupled with his very sore chin inhibited him lifting his head to feed and not much fluid was taken as a result.  They then injected the broad spectrum antibiotic, placed him on the stretcher mattress and loaded him into the Cessna caravan ready for take off.

About ten minutes after the plane landed the vehicle arrives at the airstrip with the calf  The men involved in his rescue

The tiny calf arrives at the Namunyak airstrip in the back of a landcruiser  The men involved in his rescue with him in the back of the landcruiser

Being off loaded at the airstrip  The tiny calf is off loaded at the airstrip

The tiny calf is handed over by the Namunyak community to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Keepers  We call him Kungu, after the Nkungu wells where he was discovered that morning

His umbilical cord still visible we estimated him to be just 2 weeks old  The Keepers try to feed him, but clearly lifting his head to take liquids is painful for him

Frightened and bewildered

His swollen chin was causing him discomfort



The Namunyak community waved goodbye from the edge of the dusty bush airstrip wishing the very best for his future.  One can't help to think about his mother out there somewhere in the vastness of that area, distraught at having lost her precious new born baby, and having to make that decision for the sake of the safety of the herd to walk away from what they must have considered a hopeless situation.
While Namunyak (which means the place of peace) is an area of approximately 75000 hectares where elephants are protected, there is still poaching in the surrounding areas, and this is on the increase due to the recent CITIES decision to sell the Southern African states ivory stockpiles to China.  Reverberations of this decision can be felt throughout Kenya with elephant poaching figures escalating country wide.

Being prepared for the flight  He is called Kungu

Precious cargo  Driving from Wilson airport to the nursery

In his stable



We have called our tiny new comer Kungu (after the wells where he was rescued, Nkungu means the eye of the river in Samburu.)  his wounds have been treated with anti inflammatory injections, B12 to stimulate his appetite and arnica for the bruising with mineral mud pasted under his chin to help the healing process, and keep the insects away.   He is making steady progress, and he and little Suguta are already forming a special bond, two tiny babies, both from Northern Kenya's elephant populations.  The lucky ones, as more often than not orphaned elephant calves are not found in time.  They are now facing a future with human men replacing their mothers, and theirs will be a friendship that will span a life time, and they will again, God willing, be given the chance to live a wild life amongst the elephant herds of Tsavo National Park, thanks to the communities that saved their lives.

Kungu has a dust bath  Kungu with Suguta behind, firm friends

Kungu with Zoom Zoom  Little Kungu

Kungu with Stephen, just in two days he is firmly attached to his Keepers  He is very young, just 2 weeks old

Stephen with Kungu  Stephen with Kungu who loves to play

   

If you would like to see a list of the updates available please click here.

Share this:
Follow us:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust   P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya

Copyright 1999-2017, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy