We awoke on the morning of 20th September, 2012 to a very unexpected tragedy, the sudden death of 10 month old “Nyika”, rescued in July from the Taita Ranch which abuts Tsavo East National Park, and which is a notorious poaching hotspot now occupied by ruthless gun-toting Somali herdsmen who not only kill the elephants, but who have also shot at the KWS Rangers that confront them, and killed at least one person.
We were stunned. Nyika enjoyed his milk, and although for several days he passed pure mud, we managed to get control of his digestive system with a course of antibiotics. We had every hope that he would recover even though he had arrived in a state of advanced emaciation having been deprived of his mother’s milk for some time. But, from the start this little elephant had been psychologically so damaged that he simply lacked the will to live, obviously having been witness to the horrific murder of his elephant mother and family in such a terrifying and brutal fashion. His grieving was pitiful to behold, constantly seeking solitude away from the others, usually accompanied by another newcomer such as Faraja who empathized fully with his predicament and did his best to reassure and comfort him, as did all the big females. But, it was not to be, and Nyika passed away during the early hours of the 20th September, 2012, just one more victim of the poaching holocaust in which elephants of today are embroiled, irrespective of locality. Silently we curse those who are driving this slaughter, along with those who perpetrate it.
When it became evident that Nyika was not thriving as he should, we took his blood for analysis, the result of which revealed no abnormality with a white cell count that was normal, meaning that he was not fighting any infection. The Vet recommended Vitamin B complex, and simply time but Nyika was bent on joining his elephant mother and family Somewhere in the Great Somewhere. Rest in Peace, little Nyika. At least you died surrounded by love, and there is comfort in knowing that you will now be protected forever from all cruelty and harm and will be at peace.