Published on the 11th of May, 2015
It is more frequent in recent years that communities go to great lengths in helping rescue orphaned elephants, bringing their plight to the attention of the Kenya Wildlife Service or the authorities within their area, who in turn communicate with us. This enables a life saving rescue, bringing these milk dependent calves under our care so that we can afford them a second chance at life through their Nursery years and later rehabilitate them back into the wilds through our rehabilitation units in the giant Tsavo National Park.
Their individual stories are more often than not heartbreaking, orphaned having fallen down wells dug for livestock, or poaching and human wildlife conflict victims. Without the support and commitment from these communities many elephant orphans would not have come into our care and been afforded a second chance at life. Through effective grass roots conservation projects all over the country, communities are becoming more inclined to appreciate the plight of stricken individuals, much more so than in the past, and often go to great and heroic lengths to save them.
It is always heart warming to reflect on our successes, and Lesanju, Lempaute and Sinya are no exception. All three came to us as tiny infants, and all three are now growing up in our Voi relocation unit, and having come through the Nursery as inseparable friends they are now pivotal members of our Voi dependent herd of orphans, providing protection and guidance for new arrivals like Tundani, Lentili and Nelion. These three females are the mainstay of our Voi dependent herd of orphans.
Lesanju came to us in a helicopter for the Milgis in north Kenya with her ear slashed in half by the Samburu men who rescued her, determined to make her recognisable as theirs forever, just as the do with their livestock.
Lempaute rescued from Samburu arrived in our care shortly afterwards as a tiny newborn and immediately Lesanju led the way and became incredibly protective of this very mischievous bundle.
Sinya, a well victim from Amboseli, came with a horrendous wound on her back as a result of her struggle to escape the well before being rescued. This wound took literally months to heal, but through her painful journey we discovered the healing powers of green clay which we have subsequently used to treat hundreds of wild elephants through our veterinary units and injured orphans that have come into our care since.
While these three remained in the Nursery they were visited by the men and women involved in their rescues, and this intimate experience has remained with the community members forever and helped them better understand the remarkable qualities of elephants which make them like us in so many ways. They can look deep into their eyes and know this is not just an animal, but a living being, a friend, and they can feel their soul, and be forever changed.