They say that things go in threes and just a week after the rescue of little Narripi, at 2 a.m. during the early hours of 7th September 2005, a call came from David Njoroge, Head of the Burra De-Snaring Team, to say that another orphaned baby bull elephant had been brought to the Voi Stockades; that it was just a year old, and therefore milk dependent, and would need to be airlifted to Nairobi first thing in the morning. In the meantime, Mweiga was with the baby, comforting and calming it, and it had taken some milk and water.
The Capture Unit involved in the elephant translocation which was based close to the area, were alerted, but suffered a vehicle breakdown en route to the calf, so our Voi De-Snaring Unit was summonsed. Taking back feeder roads, and in the company of a Ranger familiar with the area, they travelled the 50 miles to a small village named Bofu where the calf had last been seen, arriving at dusk. However, luck was with them (and the orphan) for villagers had again spotted the orphan feeding behind a thicket and were able to direct the team to the place. Having evolved a plan of action, the rescue team managed to surround the calf who fled, panic-stricken towards the thicket, but the team were able to close in from all sides and wrestle him to the ground after a pursuit of about 40 metres. As the calf was being loaded onto the back of the De-Snaring teams Pickup, having been trussed up, curious and wildly excited villagers, who had been watching from a safe distance, swarmed around the vehicle, all wanting to touch the recumbent and terrified animal. This must have been the worst nightmare for a baby elephant who had grown up so fearful of human contact, so Mweigas calming influence, and the presence of the other elephants back at our Voi Elephant Stockades must have come as a real life-saver!
We have named the new arrival Kwali (pronounced Kwalee). Although emaciated, and obviously still traumatized, having been alone and without his mother or elephant family in extremely hostile circumstances for about 10 days, we are confident that Kwale will very soon transform into a loving, and gentle elephant baby, who will grow up loving his human family just as deeply as do all the others. Eventually he will join Yattas unit at Ithumba in Tsavos Northern Area, where the translocated members of his Shimba elephant population are also set to find a new home. Amongst those currently in the process of being translocated from the Shimba Hills National Reserve, could even be some of his relatives, with whom one day, he may well be re-united and the good news is that he faces a much more certain future in the 24,000 sq. Kms of Tsavo, arid as it is, than he would have in the 250 sq. kms.of lush Shimba Hills, which is bordered by an ele- hostile agricultural community.
UPDATE: On the 10.09.05 Kwali died in the Nursery, he succumbed to the dreaded pneumonia exacerbated by chronic diarrheoa.