Another exciting day – l0 year old orphaned elephant “Edie”, has given birth to a baby girl which was estimated to be about 3 weeks old when Head Voi Keeper Joseph Sauni made contact with her and all the other ex Voi orphans towards the end of the month. At l0 years old, Edie is a very young mother, as are most elephants these days, who have lost the protection of the Big family females to the infamous Ivory Trade. Orphan “Malaika” whom we lost in childbirth was also just l0 years old at the time, so we are delighted, and also extremely relieved, that Edie has managed to give birth successfully to her first baby when still really just a child herself. (At any age an elephant duplicates its human counterpart in terms of age progression). Like Emily’s baby “Eve”, Edie’s newborn, whom we have named “Ella”, has a plethora of little orphan “Nannies” fussing and caring over her, the main Carer being none other than the little Ugandan elephant “Mweya” who appears to be in overall charge.
The Voi Keepers, undertaking one of their routine motorized recces, happened upon all our orphans in an area that has enjoyed more plentiful rain than most other areas, and where the browse is, and has been for some time lusher and more varied than elsewhere in the Park. Seeing Edie with a newborn surprised them all.
Edie was estimated to have been born in April 1999, and was rescued as a 4 month old calf from a well on the Namunyak Group Ranch North of Lewa Downs. Her family had struggled all night unsuccessfully to try and retrieve her, but had to leave when tribesmen and their cattle turned up. For many weeks after her rescue Edie suffered from deep depression grieving for her lost elephant family, and was very sore and bruised from her fall, able only to lie on one side of her body for well over a month. Tender loving care from both the Keepers and the other elephants in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Nairobi nursery soon made her happy again and she has never looked back. Throughout her years in Tsavo (once she was over two years old) at the Voi Unit as they all grew older and fraternized with the wild community more and more it became evident that she attracted the attention of many wild bulls, much more so than any other of the female orphans, so quite obviously Edie is considered extremely attractive amongst the elephant community.
Watching her joy now, with a baby of her very own, and surrounded by a loving orphaned family is extremely rewarding.