It started with the brutal killing of an elephant family in October 2012, a mother and her two daughters butchered for their tusks. Big Life caught one of the killers, Pekei Shoke, in a joint operation with the Kenya Wildlife Service the following day.
It’s been a long road since then. Numerous court cases, delays, and even an occasion where Pekei went on the run and was rearrested in Tanzania. But yesterday, the judges gavel finally dropped. Pekei has been found guilty of killing three elephants and sentenced to one year in prison, and a fine of approximately $500.
This may not sound like justice, but Pekei was sentenced under the previous Kenyan wildlife act, and has received the maximum fine possible. Jail time was very rare under the old act, and the judge has been as severe as she could be in this case.
Kerumpoti Leyian, another elephant killer sentenced last year, was jailed for seven years under the new act, an illustration of just how important the changes in the law have been.
Going back to October 2012, when the rangers discovered the carcasses, a small shape was hovering, a tiny calf waiting next to its dead mother. That orphan was Quanza, taken in by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and is alive and well today, proof that there is hope hidden behind the sadness. To keep this hope alive.
Quanza has graduated from her Nursery days and was translocated to our Umani Springs Rehabilitation Unit within Kibwezi Forest. She forms a group of ten orphans lucky enough to be growing up in this heavenly environment with plenty of water, food and wild elephant friends. She is very much still milk and Keeper dependent calf, and it will be as long as eight to ten years before she is flies the nest. In the meantime she has found happiness again, and another family she can call her very own. Quanza together with Zongoloni, Lima Lima, Murera, Sonje, Ngasha, Faraja, Jasiri, Balguda and Ziwa make up the Umani herd at present.