On the evening of the 23rd of August our Keepers and Vet Unit received a call regarding a young female elephant gallantly trying to save the life of her day old calf against a formidable pride of 12 lions just below the Voi Safari Lodge. When they reached the scene they couldn’t believe what they saw. The female elephant so bravely protecting her baby was infact our Orphan Mpenzi, rescued as an eight month old calf in 1993 and now living successfully integrated back amongst the wild herds of Tsavo. But they arrived too late to be of any help to Mpenzi, her calf lay motionless, dead at her feet.
When Mpenzi visited the Voi Unit Orphans back at their stockades two months ago, no one suspected for a minute she was pregnant. Now with the last rays of daylight stretched golden on the plains below, she stood alone, with a dead day old calf at her feet, and our Keepers in a vehicle nearby were powerless to help. She cut such a distressed and lonely figure, with the long shadows of 12 lions eagerly surrounding her, all waiting to feast on her baby. Eventually Mpenzi moved off, her cheeks wet with moisture from her temporal glands indicating her extreme distress, and with her departure the lions were quick to finish off their kill, a little elephant calf, wild born to an Orphan, but one who never even got to see an African sun set. While we are all absolutely devastated by this horrible twist of fate, we are grateful Mpenzi wasn’t harmed as she bravely fought a pride of 12 lions alone, in an attempt to save her calf. We pray too that she will one day have another, and know the joy of having her own family. We know too that she will have learnt a painful lesson and will hopefully opt to come back to the protection of the stockades, like her dear friend Lissa did, and give birth under the watchful eye of other wild elephant friends and her Keepers