A Baby Elephant Rescue

Published on the 4th of January, 2023

Earlier today, a baby elephant rescue unfolded in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest with the best possible outcome.

Not so long ago, the coast of Kenya was dominated by sweeping forests. Elephants and a host of other creatures travelled freely between the bush and the sea. While time and human activities have chipped away at these habitats, precious pockets remain. The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the last and largest protected fragment of East African coastal forest, located a few kilometres inland between the towns of Malindi and Kalifi. A small but important population of elephants continues to call this forest home, along with an array of birdlife and mammals. In partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service, we proudly complement conservation efforts in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.

On the morning of 4th January, one of the tiniest residents of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest ran into trouble. An infant elephant calf got stuck in a water trough and was unable to extricate himself. His frantic mother circled outside, along with his slightly older sibling.

One of our SWT/KWS Anti-Poaching Teams arrived on the scene, along with teams from KWS and Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke. While it would have been easy enough to lift the calf out of the trough, his mother complicated matters significantly. She was very upset and aggressive, which prevented anyone from getting close enough to help.

That’s when KWS came to the rescue. The SWT helicopter was busy attending to an urgent human-wildlife conflict case, so they organised for the KWS helicopter to fly down from Nairobi with a vet onboard. They were prepared to dart the mother in order for rescue teams to move in, but in the end, this was not necessary. Instead, the pilot hovered between the mother and the water trough, expertly edging her a safe distance away.

From there, the rescue operation was completed in the blink of an eye. The Trust’s vehicle and ground teams immediately moved in and lifted the baby out of the trough. After they retreated, the KWS helicopter followed suit. Everyone waited nearby to ensure the baby reunited his family. Sure enough, mum and the older sibling ran right over and scooped up their precious baby. It was a most heartwarming way to start the new year.

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