We received a phone call from Ian Craig of Lewa Downs at 12 noon on the 2nd of November regarding an elephant rescue from the West Gate Conservancy. Another elephant rescue from Northern Kenya, west of Samburu National Reserve, this time the same area where Loijuk was found.
‘Lempaute’ as her rescuers have named her after the area she was found, is just two weeks old and absolutely tiny. The scouts of The West Gate Conservancy were on a routine foot patrol when they came across this tiny calf walking all alone down a road. The moment she became aware of their presence she ran off into the bush screaming, but then later emerged from the undergrowth and began to follow them. She followed them as they walked for about an hour until such time as the patrol vehicle which was summoned by radio from the Head Quarters of the Conservancy was able to collect them and rescue the elephant. There were no elephants anywhere in the area, and her ears were very sun burnt which would indicate that she had been without her mother for at least 24 hours. She was rescued on the migration route the elephants use in the wet season as they transit through from Laikipia to the Mathews Range and it is suspected she was left behind simply because she could not keep up with the herd. It is not unusual for these northern elephants to streak under the cover of darkness in order to avoid hostile humans, but we can never be sure what the real reason is, just that she was found, a tiny little elephant in a vast landscape without another adult elephant for miles around. How fortunate it was that the West Gate Conservancy scouts found her and were able to rescue her, as an elephant this age without her mother would be terribly vulnerable to predators, and without her mothers milk would certainly not last long.
The rescue plane landed on a bush strip on the South bank of the Ewaso Niro River and shortly after landing the land cruiser arrived with the tiny calf and those that rescued her. She immediately took both the rehydration and the milk offered to her by the Keepers and then was prepared for the one hour flight back to Nairobi. Her legs were loosely bound for the journey, but this coupled with the flight terrified her, and she struggled throughout, screaming and fighting against the straps. On arrival she was absolutely exhausted, unable to walk and breathing rapidly, all the while flapping her ears. It was cause for concern as her breathing was laboured and we expected the worst, but as time past and after about an hour she slowly calmed down, and her breathing became normal. She is of course adored by all who meet her, and has two very special little playmates in Lesanju and Shimba whom we hope will grow up with her and become life long friends.