On Saturday 6th April 2013 we had the terrible news that Shimba had been attacked by a lion. Shimba is now a seven-year-old male orphan making his journey back into the wild elephant herds of Tsavo East based at the DSWTs Voi stockades, and has been lovingly nurtured since arriving at the nursery just six weeks old. The previous evening Shimba and several other orphans had been mixing with a wild herd when they were separated from their keepers whilst fleeing from an intense electric thunderstorm. This meant that they never returned to the stockades that night. Early the next morning the Keepers immediately headed out in search of the 5 orphans who had failed to return to their night stockades, Shimba, Ndii, Kenia, Layoni and Emasaya. They met Shimba wounded and alone bravely trying to make his way back to the stockades. He had obviously defended himself and eventually escaped the lion, but sadly he was left with some terrible wounds. The others were nowhere to be found. (They were later located by the DSWT plane from the air and safely reunited with the others)
Shimbas wounds were immediately extensively cleaned and treated and while terribly sore, he appeared to be healing and improving. A week later Dr. Poghon returned to Tsavo having been away with his family for a week of rest. With Dr. Poghon back it was decided to anaesthetise Shimba in order to take a very close look at the wounds and how things were progressing to ensure that they could once again be thoroughly cleaned. The wound on his ear extensive and very deep, but the miracle of green clay had kept it free of infection. The wounds were thoroughly cleaned again and packed with the green clay, and before long Shimba was back on his feet. Dr Poghon reassured us all that this tough little elephant was recovering well and would do so he thought without any permanent damage to his trunk, ear and back right leg, where some other bad wounds were located.
Since this incident Shimba has been vulnerable, and obviously in great pain. He is however very brave, letting his keepers help and treat him daily, feeding well and spending time in the company of little Panda and our Zebra Lualeni close to the stockades, understanding that it is not yet time for him to venture too far a field. To our relief Shimba is showing improvement daily.