The Loss of Barnoti

Published on the 29th of April, 2022

With heavy hearts, we share the news that Barnoti has passed away.

Barnoti never really recovered after his rescue, but in recent months, his health steadily deteriorated. We consulted with vets and ran a litany of tests, but still Barnoti did not respond to treatment. In the past week, he stopped eating greens and grew increasingly weaker. We forged ahead, plying him with IV drips, supplemental feeds, and medication, but nothing brought him back from the brink. In the early hours of 26th April 2022, Barnoti slipped away, surrounded by his special Keepers. We have done a postmortem and await test results from the samples taken, but both his spleen and liver looked abnormal.

Our time with Barnoti was far too short, but we will always cherish the six months we had with him. The Keepers fondly dubbed Barnoti a ‘friendly uncle’ of the Nursery herd. Although he was one of the larger bulls, he never pushed his weight around or acted out. His gentle nature won him a lot of friends, particularly among the younger orphans. His browsing sessions were always well-attended, as Bondeni, Choka, Esoit, Kamili, Latika, Mukutan, Olorien, Suguroi, and Taabu knew that he was tall enough to grab the freshest branches from the tops of the bushes. Rather than keep all his hard-earned greens for himself, Barnoti always shared with his little friends.

Although one of the larger bulls, Barnoti was a friendly and gentle uncle to the younger orphans

Barnoti had a special friendship with Rama and Olorien, two kindred spirits who preferred a sedate browsing session over a vigorous wrestling match. However, he became a different elephant during milk feeds. He and Rama loved to run down for their bottles side by side, often letting out little trumpets of excitement.

Barnoti, Kinyei and Rama running to their stables for milk

We will always remember Barnoti as a gentle elephant — but behind his quiet demeanour was a steely bravery. He became an orphan in November 2020, after his mother, Bouenza (as named by Amboseli Trust for Elephants), died of what appeared to be natural causes. He was just 19 months old. Under normal circumstances, this would be far too young for an orphan to survive on his own. However, thanks to unusually generous rains, Barnoti had an abundance of vegetation to sustain him in the absence of his mother’s milk. His two older sisters also looked after him to the best of their abilities.

For nearly a year, Barnoti soldiered on, but the dry season of 2021 proved too much for him to handle. His condition steadily deteriorated, until he was too weak to keep up with his family. That is when we were called in to rescue him.

We know that the six months Barnoti spent with us were happy ones. From sunup to sundown, he enjoyed the company of friends, love and support from his Keepers, and a belly full of milk. Although his time on earth was far too short, we take comfort in that. And now, Barnoti is reunited with his mother in the great beyond.

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