Another Mishap With Mischievous Ndotto

Published on the 21st of June, 2024

In all our years of raising orphaned elephants, Ndotto stands out. He captures hearts, commands the scene, and generally steals the show. Unsurprisingly, for such a busy elephant, he gets embroiled in his fair share of interesting situations! This week's escapade was but the latest chapter.

Ndotto shortly after his rescue

We rescued Ndotto as a newborn in August 2014. Likely born premature, he was the tiniest elephant we had ever seen. As he inched up in size, his personality grew by leaps and bounds. While his stature is now on par with his peers, his ‘Ndottoness’ remains in a league of its own.

Ndotto today – the life of the party!

Today, Ndotto is nine years old and one of the biggest characters in our Voi orphan herd. He is making progress in his rewilding journey and taking things step by step, which is typical for orphans rescued at a very young age.

Ndotto (left) is a great favourite among the older girls

When the ex-orphans visit Voi, they immediately make a beeline for Ndotto. All the big girls are besotted with him — they clearly still see him as their ‘little brother,’ even though he’s starting to eclipse them in size! Mudanda, Rorogoi, Araba, Panda, and Naipoki are particularly smitten. When they report to the stockades in the morning, they single him out for sparring matches, forming a patient line as they wait for their turn to play with the beloved young bull.

In a fun-spirited sparring match, Naipoki (left) accidentally poked Ndotto (right) with her tusk

One of these spirited sparring matches brought about Ndotto’s latest misadventure. He was tussling with Naipoki, who is five years his senior, when her sharp little tusk poked him in the back. Ndotto didn’t seem too upset at the time and continued with his day, business as usual. Tusk-borne injuries are an unfortunate but unavoidable risk in elephant life, and we hoped that his would heal on its own.

The wound, which initially seemed innocuous enough, had gotten worse overnight

This morning, however, the Keepers saw that the wound was beginning to swell. Overnight, the injury had ballooned into an angry, infected bump. They alerted Angela, who mobilised a treatment with the SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit. The team is also stationed in Voi and was able to tend to him that very morning.

The SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit came to help Ndotto with his predicament

Dr Limo walked right up to Ndotto and immobilised him by the mud bath. The other orphans fanned around, watching proceedings curiously. When the anaesthetic took effect and their friend fell to the ground, there were a few alarmed trumpets, but no one panicked. The orphans always intuitively know that we are there to help.

The team treated Ndotto in situ, amongst his orphan friends

The treatment was straightforward: The team debrided the wound site, thoroughly cleaned it, and administered long-acting anti-inflammatories and antibiotics to aid healing and prevent infection. Within minutes, Ndotto was revived and back on his feet. He was fairly subdued for the rest of the day, but we know he will be back to his usual antics by tomorrow!

In 2022, the Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit helped Ndotto with a most unusual situation

This isn’t Ndotto’s first foray into unconventional veterinary treatments. In September 2022, he somehow managed to inhale a large stone, which then became lodged several inches deep inside his trunk. He was very upset about the situation, which is why the Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit stepped in to lend a helping hand.

The following year, he got himself into yet another nosey dilemma

Then, in April 2023, history repeated itself. Just like last time, Ndotto got a sizable stone lodged inside his trunk. The Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit again removed the offending object, under the close supervision of the Voi herd. With the extraction complete, Ndotto clambered to his feet as Godoma, Sagala, Tagwa, Lasayen and Murit surrounded him, rumbling and trunk touching him affectionately.

Now, Ndotto is back on his feet and back to his normal antics!

We hope that Ndotto’s latest escapade rounds out his trio of treatments with the Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit — but at this point, perhaps he should have an annual standing date with Dr Limo and co.!

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