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 The Rescue of Layoni - 11/3/2011
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This young abandoned calf was first reported to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on Wednesday the 2nd of November.  He had been spotted by clients visiting the Mara and reported to the authorities.   All alone the vulnerable two year old calf had already been mauled by hyenas around his genital region.  The David Sheldrick Mara mobile veterinary unit had actually just returned to Nairobi in order to fix their vehicle that had been smashed while treating a black rhino case in Nakuru National Park.   During that time the team had planned to take a much needed four days off.  Having received this report the unit was immediately contacted and agreed to forego their off time in order to set off using a spare David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust vehicle for the long drive back to the Masai Mara.  They arrived  well after dark and only managed to catch up with the calf at dawn the following day.  This calf had been observed for 3 days alone on the vast grassy plains without any other elephant herds in sight.   KWS vet Dr. Domnic Mijele suconded to the DSWT Mobile Mara Veterinary Unit confirmed that this calf did indeed require rescuing if he was to survive, as he was estimated to be two years old and still milk dependent.  His wounds while not life threatening were causing him a great deal of discomfort.

A team of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Keepers were immediately flown from Nairobi to the Mara to assist with the rescue, and together with the KWS/David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mobile veterinary unit, the visitors who so kindly kept vigil over this elephant calf ensuring his safe rescue, and the Narok County Council rangers, his was brought to safety.

The Keepers board the plane to the Mara  Amos in the rescue plane

The orphaned calf had been observed alone of three days, with no evidence of elephants in the area

He was darted and sedated, and then restrained and his injuries closely checked, cleaned and treated.

The Vet treats the injuries  The calf's genital area had been injured by hyenas

The Keepers wait while the Vet checks the severity of the injuries  The Keepers prepare to transport the orphan to the airstrip

He was later loaded onto the standby vehicle and transported to the Keekerok airstrip, loaded into the waiting rescue plane and transported to Nairobi.

loading the calf in the rescue vehicle  The calf loaded in the rescue vehicle which will take him to the airstrip

Driving the calf to the airstrip  The rescue vehicle taking the orphan to the airstrip

The calf is transported to the Keekerok airstrip  The calf being loaded into the rescue plane

The orphan in the rescue plane  Landing in Wilson Airport

The Keepers with the orphan in the plane  Leaving Wilson airport to the Nursery

In the meantime we have received reports of a speared female elephant reported dead in the same area, this was obviously this calf’s mother. 

Now safely of this stockade at the Nursery it was almost immediately that he took to his milk bottle, but a number of days before he tamed down enough to be handled without caution.  The Keepers were treating his painful wounds which made him weary of them.

Layoni safely at the Nairobi Nursery

The calming influence of the other nursery orphans who visited his stockade daily, coupled with the dedication of the Keepers slowly won through, and after approximately one week he was able to be let out to join the nursery herd.  It was surprising that when first let out of his stockade to join the others he was reluctant to leave, and actually showed signs of wanting to return to the place where he had felt so safe, but in no time he was an integral part of the Nursery herd.  He is a lovely and gentle elephant, whom we have called LAYONI, meaning a young boy in the Maa language.   He has made new friends, both two legged and four, and now shares a large stockade at night with Rombo another male calf similar in age.  His wounds have almost completely healed due to the miraculous properties of green clay, and LAYONI will have a second chance to leave a wild life again thanks to all those who did so much to save him. 

Layoni with Julius


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