It is with deep grief that we have to report the death of Tano, who collapsed and died as the clock struck midnight on the 11th May, 2013, after a long battle to try and save her life
We estimate that Tano was born in June 2009 and orphaned when 2 months old, so she was rising 4 years old when she died. She had always been somewhat stunted. During her Nursery years she never grew the size of her peers Mutara, and Shukuru and the other orphans that came to us of a similar age, at the same time. But never the less our miniature Tano grew up to become one of several very caring Assistants to the main Nursery Matriarch, Mutara.
On the 25th January 2013 she was transferred from the Nursery to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Unit along with Mutara and Shukuru, but unlike the others, she never thrived there, suffering from the heat of Tsavo and increasingly unable to keep pace with the other orphans. She was therefore returned to the Nursery on the 15th March 2013 to undergo extensive tests in an attempt to fathom what ailed her, in particular what could have caused the chronic anaemia revealed in progressive blood tests despite immune boosters and massive doses of vitamins etc. An Onderstepoort trained Veterinarian with vast practical Elephant experience in Southern Africa was engaged to advise full time on Tano, and he went about this task extremely diligently, requesting for numerous tests to be done, managing to rule out many possible causes such as Leukemia, Cancerous tumours, abscess related infections, all fly, tick and gut parasites and the auto-immune problem that he was beginning to suspect might account for her ill health.
Subsequent to her death on the 11th May, we arranged for an extensive postmortem examination of her vital body organs, all of which were healthy, but for one vital ingredient her Bone Marrow which replaces the blood. This was obviously defective, possibly a genetic defect explaining (a) the fact that she had always been stunted and (b) the chronic anaemia which became progressively worse and which would not respond to any of the medication she had been given.
Had Tano been human, the only possible treatment would have been a Bone Marrow Transplant, which obviously is not possible in an Elephant. We take some small comfort knowing that there was nothing we could possible have done to save the life of this precious orphan; that we did our utmost and our best, but that it was not to be. Tano was given four happy years of life which otherwise would have been denied her, and the end came in the comfort of her Night Stockade, surrounded by the love of her many Nursery Elephant peers, and with an extremely caring and loving surrogate human family by her side. All will miss her sorely, and hold her forever in their hearts. Her hundreds of foster-parents in far corners of the world, who have followed her life with passion and dedication and helped support her during life and more recently contributing towards her medical care will also be devastated by her passing. We thank all the kind and caring folk who provided extra funding for her medical care, enabling us to provide specialized Veterinary care for her on a fulltime basis. Rest in Peace beloved Tano you enriched our lives and those of many others enormously whilst here. Now you are beyond all the suffering and pain of this evil world, and will live forever in the hearts of many who followed your short life and who grieve your passing just as deeply as ourselves.