This female calf of approximately 1 year old was spotted at around midday on the 7th July 2010 by a Community Game Scout by the name of Isaac Mutua who was on a routine patrol on the Muhoho Farm owned by the Kenyatta family near Ziwani abutting Tsavo West National Park. The young elephant was alone and wandering aimlessly with no wild herds in the area, its emaciated condition indicative that it had obviously been orphaned, with no chance of survival being still milk dependent. What happened to its mother is not known, but what is known is that there is a great deal of human/wildlife conflict in that area, as well as poaching for both ivory and bushmeat, with elephants now being targeted because they provide both evil and lucrative commodities. Sadly, many of the communities abutting Tsavo are agricultural based rather than pastoral and as such definitely not ele-friendly. It is not unusual for orphans found in that particular area to be willfully maimed or killed by being speared, irrespective of size.
Mercifully this young calf escaped that fate, her presence instead reported to the officer in charge of the Taveta Out Station, Ms. Constance Mwasho who, in conjunction with the Senior Warden in charge of Tsavo West, Daniel Woodley, alerted the Trust and coordinated the rescue.
As usual, the Trust chartered a Caravan Aircraft, which left Nairobi at around 2 p.m. to airlift the orphan back to the Nairobi Nursery, where she arrived soon after 5 p.m. and was put in the stable next door to that of Kudup. Being still relatively strong but understandably extremely fearful and aggressive, it took three stalwart Keepers to ward off her repeated onslaughts and to set about calming her overnight and getting her to take milk. By morning, they had succeeded, and the calf had taken milk overnight and was desperate for more, but in this respect it is important to proceed cautiously and not to overload the stomach of an emaciated candidate for fear of upsetting it. Such calves are usually too feeble to withstand diarrheoa which, in an elephant, is an extremely life threatening condition.
Makireti, meaning “one left in the wilderness” in the Taita tribal dialect. We feel this appropriate, and so little Makireti becomes the 16th elephant currently in the Trust’s Nairobi Elephant Nursery.
It only took a day to tame Makireti down sufficiently for her to join the other orphans and she has become very much part of the group, accepted and loved by them all. It seems she has made a special bond with both Kandecha who is also a new arrival himself and Mawenzi, who always has time for all the newcomers.