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 The rescue of Seyia - 11/10/2004
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Another hectic Sunday 7th November (it always happens on a Sunday!); another rescue alert following a phone call from the Mara Conservancy that there was a young, and very sick elephant mother, with an enormous festering abscess on her abdomen and a tiny newborn calf, who was in a very weak condition. Both mother and baby looked like set to die unless the mother received urgent Veterinary intervention, and the baby, some milk. The prognosis for the mother was never encouraging, since the abscess was huge and severely infected; the prognosis for the baby even less so, since the mother was obviously too ill to produce milk, and would be even less likely to be able to feed her calf having had immobilizing drugs. However, the Mombasa Vet, Dr. Kashmiri. who usually handles the Masai Mara cases, was on his way from Mombasa to immobilize the mother and assess the seriousness of her wounds when a decision would be made as to whether to euthenase her to spare her further suffering, should her chances of recovery prove unlikely. We were asked to stand by should the calf be a candidate for rescue.

Seyia with his mother being observed by the Mara rangers  It became obvious that they required help, the mother desperately sick and without milk

The mother had a huge absess under her stomach

Unfortunately, the immobilisation of the mother did not go entirely according to plan. The mother was put to sleep her wound was cleaned, the vet was also able to asertain that the mother was virtually without milk, her breasts having srivelled out of reach of the calf even, when unexpectedly she woke up before an antibiotic administered. With the elephant now on its feet, everyone had to scramble to safety, including the Vet. It was decided that Seyia would have no chance of survival given his present dehyrated condition, and his mothers present condition. Obviously, if he was not to end up making a meal for the hyaenas, he had to be treated as an orphan, and little Seyia came into our care, the 60th elephant baby the Trust has been able to save, assuming that he makes it. We estimate his age to be about 1 week, the worry being whether his mother had been able to produce the vital first colostrums milk to give him the antibodies he needs to cope with life.

The mother is operated on  The calf is given a bottle of milk which he immediately drinks

It is evident that he is very dehydrated  The calf is driven to the airstrip

His name “Seyia” (pronounced Seya) was chosen by the Masai tribesmen that share his birth place, since this is both the Maa name of the area where he was found, as well as the name of a small wetland reed whose root tuber is carved into a much coveted lucky talisman worn by the Warriors.

The vet cleans the infected Umbilical cord  The calf almost stops breathing during the flight to Nairobi

On landing he seems to have regrained his strength  Seyia is welcomed by Angela Sheldrick

Seyia settles in to the nursery


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