Voi is in full celebration mode, for Edie is now a mother of four! She debuted her newest arrival late at night on 26th January 2022.
When Edie was just a few months old, one moment changed the course of her life forever. As her herd drank from a well in Namunyak Conservancy, Edie tumbled into its depths. Her family struggled in vain all night to free her. But then herdsmen and their cattle arrived with the rising sun, forcing them to make the heartbreaking decision to abandon their baby.
This was a profoundly traumatic event for Edie. She arrived at the Nursery consumed by grief, unwilling to embrace her new human-elephant family as she mourned the herd who left her behind. To make matters worse, her little body was severely bruised from her fall into the well. Some orphans simply don’t choose life, and we worried that Edie might be one of those tragic cases.
Fortunately, she proved us wrong. Edie blossomed into a confident and independent little elephant, to quote her Keepers. She flourished at the Nursery and found her independence at our Voi Reintegration Unit. Fast forward 23 years, and she is now living wild and leading her own herd of ex orphans.
Edie first became a mother in 2009, giving birth to Ella. In 2015, she brought another daughter into the world, named Eden. The 2019 arrival of her third calf and first son, Eco, really shook things up in Tsavo! Around the same time, Edie’s best friend, Mweya, also gave birth to a little girl. Together, Eco and Mwitu made up the most mischievous pair of babies our Voi family has ever seen.
As has become tradition, Edie and Mweya made their annual pilgrimage to Voi around the Christmas holidays. Much to our delight, their herd had grown by one: Icholta had a newborn baby by her side. We knew Izzy’s weren’t the only pitter patter of tiny feet we would be hearing: Based on her conspicuously round belly, Edie was also due in the not-too-distant future.
At last, that happy moment has arrived! Our ex orphans typically choose a morning debut for their new babies, but Edie clearly couldn’t wait until daybreak to introduce us to her latest addition. On the night of 26th January, she arrived at the Voi stockades with a newborn calf in tow. He is a healthy, round-cheeked little boy, who we have named Enzo.
Edie and Mweya’s ex orphan herd has expanded over the years, so Enzo will grow up among a large and loving family. Edie is an excellent mother, with more than a decade of parenting experience to her name. In fact, she will likely become a grandmother in the near future: At 13 years old, her eldest daughter, Ella, is on the cusp of motherhood. Eden is at prime nannying age, while Eco is thrilled to have a little brother to take under his wing. It is heartwarming to see how our sibling-like sprites, Eco and Mwitu, have reined in their mischievous ways to dote on Enzo. We suspect that Enzo and Izzy, who were also born within a few weeks of each other, will have a similar relationship.
When Izzy was born, Kihari quickly claimed the role of head nanny. She has spent the year with Edie and Mweya’s herd and clearly felt she was ready for the role! Now, she has two little babies to look after. Mashariki, who is part of Kenia’s semi-dependent herd, also seems keen to hone her nannying skills. Kihari has taken her on as a deputy, dashing between Izzy and Enzo, and ably showing the Mashariki the ropes. These wild-born babies are an important opportunity for our older girls to learn how to become competent mothers themselves.
With Enzo, Edie’s family has grown to five. Reflecting on how this elephant’s life has transformed over the past two decades, we feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. Edie came to us vulnerable and broken-hearted. Now, she is a confident matriarch and a loving mother of four beautiful calves.