On the 8th January 2014 The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued two orphaned elephants. The first was Losesia, a 6 month old female that had fallen down a manmade well at Sera Conservancy in Northern Kenya and the second, a two year old bull from Amboseli National Park.
It is unknown how long Losesia was trapped down the well before finally being rescued by Northern Rangelands scouts. With the water in the well up to eye level, Losesia was totally submerged and could only breathe through her trunk. She was very weak and had obviously been without food for a significant amount of time.
On arrival at the nursery she took milk and water quickly but it was evident she had a much more serious problem. Losesia’s eyes were clouded over and clearly very painful. She was obviously unable to see and she couldn’t tolerate daylight. The bacteria in the water and the amount of time her eyes were submerged had caused a terrible eye infection and left her blind, we hoped temporarily, but the prognosis was guarded.
Losesia was very unsteady on her legs and was not keen to leave the safety of her stable, partially due to her blindness and also due to her weakened state. From the onset we had doubts that this little orphan had the strength to pull through. We held onto hope and did everything we could, but Losesia finally collapsed in the stockade on the 10th of January. Despite a drip and our best efforts, she passed away during the night from inhalation pneumonia, obviously caused by breathing in water from the well.
However, Ziwa, the two year old bull rescued on the same day as Losesia, is doing amazingly well. His mother was very sick for quite a while and slowly her strength ebbed away despite being treated by the Sky Vet in December. The reason for her illness has never been confirmed but it is thought to be natural causes. As her condition deteriorated, little Ziwa stood vigil by his mother’s side. Eventually, two weeks after being treated by the Sky Vet, she slipped in mud and was too weak to get up. Ziwa bravely chased off hyenas and anyone trying to approach his mother as she lay there unable to help herself. The Sky Veterinary unit was called and KWS vet Isaac Lekelol made the decision to euthanize his mother to relieve her of any further suffering, and save the calf before he was mauled fatally by hyenas.
This can be very daunting as he is a calf of considerable size despite only being two years old. Usually calves of his age take a long time to accept and trust humans but Ziwa took to his milk bottle quickly and settled down incredibly quickly.