Friday the 21st October ended as one of the most tragic and traumatic days in the Trusts twenty eight year history. At 6 a.m. that morning, we lost the life of one of our finest Elephant Keepers and the life of a rhino lovingly hand reared from just 2 days old, but now fully integrated back into the wild rhino community of Nairobi National Park – from our point of view a rhino success story. Early that morning Keeper Patrick Dokata was heading out to join the other Keepers in the Park forest, followed by Shida our youngest and still dependent rhino orphan. Quite obviously, with hindsight, Shida detected the proximity of six year old Makosa, as he stopped in his tracks prompting Patrick to look back at him, calling him to follow with the soft “Ah” imitation of a rhino mother’s call to her baby, yet unwittingly all the while walking ever closer to Makosa who was hidden by bush. Startled, Makosa charged from close range, and because Patrick was almost on top of him, and caught totally unawares, there was no chance of escape. He was killed instantly.
For the other two Keepers who were following a short distance behind Patrick to take over elephant duty, the scene they witnessed was terrible beyond comprehension. Immediately they ran back to the Trust headquarters to alert everybody as to what had taken place. The Kenya Wildlife Service were informed and responded swiftly and efficiently, detailing armed Rangers to guard Patrick’s body until the appropriate authorities within KWS and the Kenya Police were alerted. However, in the meantime, Makosa returned to the scene, distressed and enraged. Immediately, he charged the two Rangers who managed to escape up flimsy trees, but the rhino persistently battered one tree, irrespective of three shots being fired over his head in an effort to turn him. This merely infuriated him further, and when it looked as though the tree would come down, putting the Ranger’s life at risk, there was no alternative left but to shoot Makosa at close range before the Ranger suffered the same fate as Patrick.
And so, within just one hour that early morning, two irreplaceable lives, inextricably tangled by fate, were lost. From all at the Trust our hearts and sympathies go out to Patrick’s family and for the many people world-wide who have supported Makosa for the years that it took for him to become a mature wild rhino living amidst the wild community of Nairobi National Park, all we can say, is that we are so very sorry that things had to end this way. The 21st October was a nightmare that will be indelibly etched in the minds of all who knew, and loved, both Patrick and Makosa. Patrick was a loyal and dedicated Keeper who will be sorely missed by the elephants as well as all those who knew him. The elephants loved him as a surrogate mother figure and a gentle and competent understanding soul. He was exceptional in his role as Elephant Keeper, a man from the Wliangulu tribe of “Elephant People” whose destiny has been inextricably intertwined with elephants and all things wild throughout history.
R.I.P. Patrick Dokata Mzee and Makosa.
We have established a fund specifically for the education of Patrick’s two children. Should any body wish to contribute to this fund check contributions from the USA can be made out to The U.S. Friends of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and posted directly to The U.S. Friends. If you could please ensure the check is accompanied by a note making clear that the donation is specifically for Patrick Dokata’s Education fund.
THE U.S. FRIENDS OF THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST One Indiana Square Suite 2800 Indianapolis Indiana 46204-2079 USA Email: [email protected] Telephone: (317) 238 6218 Fax : (317) 636 1507
Should any body from ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD, aside from the USA, wish to contribute to this fund, checks can be made out to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and sent to our UK address, as posting checks directly to Kenya is not always safe. Please be sure any check sent for this purpose is accompanied with a note making it clear that the donation is specifically for Patrick Dokata’s Education Fund.
THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST PO Box 133 Ashtead Surrey KT21 9AB UK Email: [email protected] Telephone: +44 (0)1372 229 176 Fax: +44 (0)1372 229 176