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 The rescue of Lemoyian - 10/9/2012
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On the Western side of Amboseli National Park about 1 km from the Tanzanian border, there is a deep watering well called the Lemoyian Well where the resident Masai cattle herders water their livestock. The whole area is known as Lemoyian, named many years ago after a prominent Masai family. During the night of the 8th October a great deal of commotion was heard by some of the local community members at the well. Upon further investigation it was obvious that the noise during the night was a mother elephant desperately trying to save her calf that had fallen down the well. A local community member and livestock owner named Muterian Ole Saboti, who had found the mother and calf at sunrise, reported the situation to the Amboseli Research Station first thing in the morning of the 9th when the mother elephant was still at the well struggling to free her calf. Yet sadly herds of cattle began streaming into the area in order to drink from the well, forcing the mother to abandon her calf, but Muterian stayed with the baby until help arrived, having managed to singlehandedly chase-off a group of local youths from spearing the calf. Officials from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) soon arrived at the scene and were assisted by community members in extracting the calf, before loading the orphan into a vehicle to be driven to the Amboseli Park airstrip, from where it was met by the DSWT rescue team and soon airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery. The calf, a beautiful baby bull who was about 3 months of age on arrival, arrived at the Nursery by 5pm and has since been named Lemoyian. We feel for the mother elephant who is obviously grief-stricken having lost her calf, and we are incredibly saddened that this orphan could not have been reunited with his family, but since the well is very close to an international border, and the mother could well have crossed into Tanzania, it was not an option for the rescuers to attempt to reunite the family.

Lemoyian with the Keepers  The orphan is given re-hydration fluids

Lemoyian tied down in travel traps for the journey to the orphanage  Those involved in the rescue

Lemoyian in the rescue plane

Muterian's selfless and committed protection of little Lemoyian, until help arrived, is an example to all of us. An appropriate way to reward his exemplary conservation behavior is being decided, in the hope that it will go some small way towards encouraging others in the wider community and especially within his local community to feel the same way about the wildlife they share their land with.

Lemoyian at the Nursery  Lemoyian arriving at the Nursery

Muterian visits the orphans

Of course huge thanks go to Muterian himself, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and also Tortilis Camp who were extremely helpful in the rescue, and who have now made a ramp for the waterhole so that any future animals caught in the well can escape easily.

Muterian visits the orphans  Muterian visits the orphans

Although it is still early days Lemoyian is thriving at the Nursery. He was initially treated with anti-biotics as the staff at ATE informed us that the well into which he had fallen was very dirty, therefore the likelihood of him ingesting toxic water was high. The treatment seems to have helped as we have not had much trouble with his health, although he initially lost a little weight due to the change in diet and stress of losing his mother, but this will improve in time. He is a very boisterous little bull and loves being mothered by the older females like Mutara and Shukuru, who spend much of their time hugging him and letting him huddle underneath them.    

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