Remembering Kwali

Death of Kwali

Death of Kwali.

It was all just too much for this tragic little elephant rescued on the 6th September 2005 from community lands abutting the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Partly healed scars and wounds on his body were gruesome testimony to the aggression and harassment he must have endured since the loss of his elephant family from that notoriously un-ele-friendly agricultural community amongst whom he found himself, orphaned and alone, which is mainly comprised of tribes well known for a tendency to kill and eat any and every living thing. Desperately trying to escape a gruesome end for what must have been at least l0 days without the protection of his elephant family, then being overpowered for the rescue and surrounded by hordes of chattering and excited enemy, all of whom wanted to prod and touch him, before the 60 mile journey in the back of a pick-up to the Voi Stockades; then further man-handling into and out of the rescue plane, and the final journey to the Nairobi Nursery, plus the mandatory anti-biotic injections from the Vet, was all more than he could take. But, at least he enjoyed l full day of milk again, but on the second day, he succumbed to the dreaded pneumonia exacerbated by chronic diarrheoa. As he was dying, we also noticed that he could also previously have suffered a broken rib.

We noticed too that he had 5 toenails on the front feet and 4 on the hind, something that had escaped our notice before when we were too preoccupied trying to save his life. This means that he was a very special elephant one of the very few rare indigenous forest elephants from the Coastal tropical forest that clothes the Shimba Hills, with a different number of toenails to the bush immigrant refugee elephants from inland populations. This makes the loss of him even more tragic. There were tears aplenty, but comfort in knowing that the last sound he would have heard as he lay dying was the gentle comforting rumble from his elephant friend next door named Rapsu. This surely made his passing more peaceful and loving end than it would otherwise have been and because of this we all know that little Kwali will definitely Rest in Peace and look down kindly from somewhere in the great somewhere on the few humans who were kind to him at the end of his short year of life.