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 The rescue of Naipoki - 12/17/2010
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We received an early morning call from Jane Craig at 7.00 am reporting news of a tiny baby elephant that had been rescued from a well in the Namunyak Conservation Area, that was in the safe custody of Hilary and Piers of Sarara Camp. The Kenyan Wildlife Service then called having been alerted about the calf with the same news and we immediately scrambled a team of Keepers and they were at Namunyak in Northern Kenya by 10.30 am.

Passing Mt. Kenya

Landing at Namunyak airstrip  The vehicle with the tiny calf in the back awaits the rescue plane and Keepers at the airstrip

They check what age she is by feeling her teeth. She is estimately to be approximately 3 months old  The calf at the airstrip with all those who helped with her rescue in the background

She has a first feed in a long while

The baby, estimated around three months old, had experienced a very traumatic couple of days. Initially she was rescued in the early morning of the 13th when Sumaina Lesirite, a community Moran, reported to the Namunyak Conservancy headquarters an elephant calf had fallen into a well. She was immediately rescued and all attempts were made to locate the calf’s mother and herd to reunite the baby. Finally, the evening of the 14th , everyone was delighted when their hard efforts were rewarded and they managed to locate the herd.

The Keepers meet the baby for the first time  Abdul trying to put the teat on all the while the calf is going crazy for more fluids

Taking a feed  About to prepare Naipoki for a flight

Some of the Samburu community look on  The calf is injected before the flight

Preparing the calf for loading  Preparing the calf for loading and for the flight

Unbelievably Sumaina Lesirite reported the same calf fallen down the same well the following morning of the 14th of December. This time her trunk had been chewed by predators during the night, and she was visibly much weaker, and in desperate need of milk. Maybe the herd she was reunited with was not her own, and she had fallen down the well again desperately trying to drink, or maybe the herd frequents that particular watering point while in the area and accidentally she slipped in a second time. Piers and Hilary from Sarara Camp initiated the second rescue and the calf was returned to the camp while they waited for the rescue crew from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to arrive.

Once the plane and keepers landed at the airstrip she was fed re-hydration liquid which she guzzled, along with a couple of bottles of milk. She was obviously desperately hungry and terribly tired. She was tied and strapped for the journey and slept throughout most of the flight, seemingly totally calm. On arrival at the Nairobi Nursery she fed again, and her strength began to return. She was now inclined to shove the Keepers, but not for long as she soon collapsed on the soft hay in her stable and slept solidly for a further three hours.

The tiny calf is loaded into the back of the aircraft  Close up of the wounds on the trunk

Hassan helps strap the calf down for the flight

Taru and Roan eagerly await the arrival of the baby elephant at Wilson airport  Ready for the short journey to the Nairobi Nursery

She has been called Naipoki by those who worked so hard to save her from the Namunyak Conservation Area, named after the lugga where she was reunited with the herd on the evening of the 13th. In the Maa language Naipoki means ‘something painted’. She comes from exactly the same area as Wasin, and the two of them make a endearing miniature pair, their friendship already forming, and one we hope will last for a life time.

She slept for much of the journey seemingly calm throughout the flight  Taru and Roan with the new tiny arrival - Naipoki

Taru and Roan and little Naipoki, safely at the Nursery  Taru and Roan feed little Naipoki some rehydration fluid


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