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 The Death of Dida - 3/12/2012
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To be honest, the death of Elephant Orphan Dida came as no surprise to us, but nevertheless that does not change the fact that it was still the loss of a loved and treasured Elephant, rescued from a manhole on the main Mzima Mombasa Pipeline in September 2007, at the age of just 1 month. Having been with us for five years, carefully and lovingly nurtured every day of her life, we all knew, and loved her unconditionally, so her death has been particularly painful for all of us, and especially her orphan peers and her dedicated team of Keepers.

Elephants are human animals; their emotional makeup identical to our own, their caring and compassion probably surpassing that of humans. They mourn the loss of a love one just as deeply as we do, so it is not difficult to regard and love the orphans as one would ones own child.

The trapped baby elephant struggles in the pipeline manhole  The team inspect the situation

Off loading the tiny calf at the Voi stockade compound  Dida with Julius and Hassen

Dida following a keeper from the rescue team  Sweet little Dida

Dida on the left with Kimana and Emanuel   Dida and Sinya after a mudbath

Dida thrived during her Nursery Years, and apart from being somewhat smaller than others of her age, appeared perfectly healthy. She was happy and playful, but as she grew older in age having been moved to the Voi Rehabilitation facility on the 11th May 2010, she never grew physically as she should, and there were ominous signs that all was not well. As a five year old, she was so small that she could have been mistaken for the calf of one of the larger Voi Orphans.

It became quite obvious that something was very wrong with Dida, and that became more profound over time. We were concerned it was an absorption problem, so we returned her to the formula on which newborns thrive, but which is rather too expensive for the older Elephants, bearing in mind that Elephants are milk dependent for the first three years of life. For a time this seemed to suit Dida better, and she felt sufficiently well to venture into the noon mudbath along with the others, and to being able to keep pace with them out in the bush, always accompanied by either Ndi or Kenia, hers special elephant friends, who recognized her frailty and watched over her diligently to ensure that the boisterous and exuberant little bulls did not playfully barge or push her. However the signs were that Dida's problem was with a vital organ, we thought possibly heart or lungs.

Dida and Hassan  Dida having a drink of water

Dida dusting up  Dida having a lovely wallow

Dida near the mudbath  Dida front, Lesanju & Sinya.jpg

Dida in the bushes  Dida browsing during the dry season

Dida

Daphne and Angela were in England when Dida passed away suddenly on the 9th March 2012, having been alerted by phone that she was rapidly failing, with swelling of the abdomen and legs indicative of a heart problem.

Dida on Mazinga Hill  Dida left,Kenia down,Sinya & Ndii in the mudbath

Dida milk feeding  Dida scratching against a rock

Dida scratching her leg  Dida leading others to the field

Dida relaxing

Since the Vet attached to our Mobile Veterinary Unit was elsewhere at the time, we asked that another KWS Vet be flown down by Charter Plane to undertake an autopsy, so that we would know the nature of Didas longstanding problematical health. We did our very best to save precious Dida, but she was, as it transpired, a victim of the circumstances surrounding her being orphaned in the first place. The autopsy revealed that Dida's lungs were encased in a membrane that had grown into the lungs themselves and the surrounding rib cage and were hopelessly undeveloped as a result, obviously compromised right from the outset. Probably because of having inhaled the putrid water when she fell into the manhole all those years ago as a tiny infant calf, a man hole and water point visited by hundreds of community cattle daily. Due to her failing lungs her other organs had to work over time, so her heart was hugely enlarged as was her liver. She was very tragically destined not live a long healthy life. We miss her and we wish it might have been otherwise, but like the Elephants themselves, after the grief and tears, a page has to be turned in order to focus on the living and be at hand to help others who are fortunate enough to be rescued in time to have a second chance of life. Rest in Peace, Dida. You will live on in the hearts and memories of many, many people who followed your life through the Fostering Program for five long years.

Dida left with Layoni  Dida left, Kenia & Lempaute

Dida left,Lesanju,Emsaya & Lempaute  Dida standing in the mudbath

Dida and Ndii  Dida after mudbath

Dida out in the park  Dida down,Shimba left & Kenia dusting up

Lovely Dida

   

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