Published on the 14th of November, 2016
Ex Orphan Thoma came to us on the 11th of August in 2001, estimated to be just a couple of months old at the time. She originated from a refugee population of elephants sheltering in a small patch of forest at Thompson’s Falls (now known as Nyahururu) surrounded by human settlement and cultivation, so every time the elephants left the forest, usually under the cover of darkness, they found themselves in trouble due to human wildlife conflict; where the elephants are invariably the losers. Thoma’s beginning weeks were fraught and we had to work long and hard to save her, she was in such a desperate state both physically and mentally. She spent her early infancy at the Trust’s Nairobi National Park Nursery and we watched her heal thanks to the love and care she received throughout those vital early years, until she was ready to begin the rehabilitation journey back to lead a normal wild life from our Voi Rehabilitation Unit within the giant Tsavo National Park, where she was under the Matriachship of Ex Orphan Emily.
In the fullness of time she completed this process, which takes many years as elephants duplicate our own age progression, and she is now living as a wild elephant amongst Emily’s Ex Orphans herd moving between Tsavo and the neighboring ranches as so many wild elephants have done for millennia, where the dry season browse is more abundant. Over years we have been proud to share in the many wild born babies born to Emily’s herd of Ex Orphans, including Emily’s two Eve and Emma, Edie’s two wild born calves Ella and Eden, and more recently Sweet Sally’s little Safi, and Icholta’s Inca. Thoma along with Mweya, Seraa and Ndara have, in the meantime, taken their roles as Nanny to these many wild born babies extremely seriously, being more protective and attentive than the mothers themselves.
On the 24th of October 2016 news came that Thoma had given birth to an incredibly adorable baby boy whom we have named Thor, and who she proudly showed the Keepers from the Voi Stockades who had come to identify which of our orphan had given birth! Thor becomes the 23rd wild born baby to our Ex Orphans, each and everyone a testament to the success of the Trust’s Orphans’ Project and, even more than that, reinforcing the trust and love our Ex Orphans have for their Keepers allowing them such privileged access to their newborns.
Thankfully Emily’s herd have remained on a protected Conservancy throughout the dry season along with over 200 wild elephants, where water and food has remained abundant despite the drought conditions elsewhere, and their progress has been monitored and checked regularly, so Thor’s first few weeks have been closely documented. He is a bundle of joy, full of energy and requires full time supervision from the diligent Nannies Seraa and Ndara, and Mweya, all of whom we hope will have their own wild born calves soon! Thor has been born into a loving extended family, surrounded by warmth and love, and a couple of little playmates in the form of Safi and Inca in particular.