Ex-orphan Edie, was rescued from Namunyak Conservancy in North Kenya in1999 having fallen down a well. There was evidence her family had struggled long and hard to retrieve their lost calf but given that the well was frequented by the pastoralist people daily to water their livestock, the herd had left by daybreak, leaving the baby stranded. Edie which means ‘over there’ in Samburu was reared in our Nairobi Nursery from the tender age of four months old. Her early months were difficult as she deeply mourned the loss of her beloved elephant family. She was transferred to our Voi rehabilitation unit in Tsavo East National Park and in the fullness of time became an ex-orphan member of the resident wild elephant community living a normal wild elephant life, extremely close to the Matriarch of the ex-orphans herd, Emily.
Edie had her first wild born calf in May of 2009 at only age of ten years old. We named this little female baby Ella. Ella was welcomed company for Emily’s first born baby, born six months earlier named Eve. Life is fulfilled for the ex-orphan females when their own wild born babies complete the family.
In December 2014 Emily returned to the Voi Stockades to give birth to her second baby, named Emma; an event that was filmed by the Keepers. Since then the ex-orphan herd has remained close to home, visiting the stockades most days to drink and catch up with the dependent babies, and their Keepers.
On the 15th of March Edie returned to the stockade along with the rest of Emily’s unit dragging a loose wire snare around her leg which she allowed the Keepers to easily remove. They were however concerned about Edie’s unusual behaviour since she kept intermittently lying down and seemed exhausted. Little did they know that she was in fact in labour!
During the late afternoon of the 16th March, as the Keepers returned with their dependent group of orphans towards the stockades on the northern side of Msinga hill they spotted Emily’s herd clustered in a tight circle. They were concerned about the strange body language and approached to take a closer look. As they drew nearer the group opened up to reveal the latest little treasure in their midst – Edie’s second wild born female baby whom we have named Eden. Emily’s calf born a few months earlier, Emma, was beside herself with excitement at having a younger playmate to love and protect which is an innate part of normal elephant behaviour.
Since then Emily’s ex-orphan herd have revisited the Voi stockades most days, with the cosseted, adored and protected latest arrival Eden amongst them. Ella her older sister has been taking on the role of nanny along with all the other members of the herd.
What a truly wonderful way to reward the erstwhile human family who by saving young orphaned elephants, have enabled others to be born into a quality of life in wild terms. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is proud to have been instrumental in making this happen.