It was in the very early hours of Wednesday 28th May that Orwa, Teleki and Bomani prepared for the next stage in their ultimate rehabilitation back into the wild
It was in the very early hours of Wednesday 28th May that Orwa, Teleki and Bomani prepared for the next stage in their ultimate rehabilitation back into the wild. With 31 orphaned elephants in our care at the Nursery, we have been waiting for suitable weather conditions in Tsavo before beginning to move some of the older Nursery orphans to our reintegration centres in Tsavo East National Park. For in Tsavo the elephants have a perfect environment, with space to roam and wild elephants from whom they can learn the ways of the wild. The first of two planned translocations to Ithumba included Orwa, Bomani and Teleki – three young males, ready to begin the next stage in their rehabilitation, a new phase in their ultimate where they will first remain reliant on their keepers and the older Tsavo orphans for some years to come.
Orwa was rescued in late 2011 from northern Kenya near South Turkana National Reserve, aged just one year. He had clearly been without his mother and milk for some time, for he was in an extremely emaciated condition and had been harassed by small predators, with superficial bite wounds on his body. Given his state of health, the team worried that he might not survive, however he defied the odds and has grown into a beautiful, soft hearted elephant. Bomani, a suspected poaching victim, was rescued at the age of one year in July 2012. Bomani was alone and had been trying to attach himself to a fence maintenance team working in the Voi area. He was clearly desperate for company, following the men back to their camp in the evening. The team fearing the orphan would become a meal for predators during the night called the KWS and the rescue was initiated. Teleki was about 1 and a half years old when he was rescued in September 2012 on community lands abutting Mount Kenya. The fate of his mother was never confirmed, however he is believed to be a human-wildlife conflict case. In the days leading up to their translocation to Ithumba, Orwa, Bomani and Teleki become acquainted with the Trust’s specially designed elephant transporter, which would take them on their journey to Ithumba. Taking milk feeds on the stationary truck allows the elephants to become accumstomed to the vehicle and its stables, reducing any stress that might otherwise be caused on the day of the move.
Waved off by the other keepers remaining behind with the now 28 Nursery orphans, at 4am the transporter pulled out of the Nursery and hit the tarmac for the drive to Ithumba. The early start has two clear benefits when moving the elephants, the first is the ability to avoid the traffic on Nairobi’s roads, which gets worse every day, lorries filling the roads back and forth between Mombasa Port and the capital. The other reason is to ensure cooler conditions throughout the journey for the elephants, allowing them to travel more comfortably, for what is a huge day in their lives.