She was seen sleeping under the shade of a tree, all alone, in Hilton Hotels Taita Hills Sanctuary, with no other elephants nearby, and since she was only about 4 months old, she was obviously an orphan doomed to die with no chance of survival without her mother’s milk in a wild situation. The staff of the Sanctuary watched the calf for a full day as she tried to join other herds but was each time left behind as the herds moved off. The could see that she was already losing strength and would be lost to predators unless rescued, and was quite obviously an orphan.
Our Elephant Keepers and Mobile Veterinary Unit were mobilized, and little “Lualeni” was rescued in the evening of Saturday 27th November, without a struggle, simply happy to be offered rehydration and a bottle of milk. She was loaded into the back of the Trust’s pickup and taken to the Voi Stockades for the night, since it was too late to fly her to the Nursery that day. At the Stockades, immediately she was welcomed by the older orphans, Icholta and Natumi being her little mothers for the night, since Emily, Aitong and Sweet Sally are no longer in the Stockades at night, but free to roam outside, usually turning up in the morning to join the other orphans, or meeting up with them out in the bush. (Emily and Aitong, our two older “Matriarchs”, now want to be out and about at night, and since Sweet Sally is inseparable from Aitong, she is outside as well. We tried to encourage Loisaba to keep Emily company, but she was having none of it!)
And so, little Lualeni spent the night cosseted by the older group, and was flown to the Nairobi Nursery the following day, arriving at lunch time. She was calm and friendly from the outset, happy to take milk from a bottle, and following the Keepers as she would her mother. However, she was very tired, and slept a lot that first day and night. The next morning, the eight Nursery elephants came in a group to meet her, and immediately Sunyei had decided that this was going to be her special baby. Galana has decided that little Nalitu is hers, and Naserian loves Jipe best, so all three little Nursery “mothers” now have a tiny calf of their very own, and all nine went off in a group, tiny “Lualeni” already fully in the fold.