There was not one person in our Nairobi Nursery that was not absolutely gutted by the eventual death of our little Ziwani, who had put up such a brave fight for life, and whose suffering at the hands of humans was so difficult to have to watch. Devastated by the loss a beloved elephant mother is bad enough, but then to be hacked and cruelly mutilated by brutal Masai tribesmen who punctured her body with multiple dagger and spear wounds, some so deep that they caused internal damage, is difficult to understand, especially as the Masai are supposed to be more understanding of animals than many others who look upon them just as “meat”. The suffering of this brave little elephant was un-imaginable.
Having dragged little Ziwani from the jaws of death, over the next l0 days she had to endure the discomfort of a long course of antibiotic injections to try and halt infection in her multiple wounds, plus the pain of having them cleaned in an attempt to make her whole again. Despite all this, the trust and unconditional love she extended to her Keepers was deeply humbling, as was her forgiveness in view of the savagery she had endured at the hands of humans.
After a couple of weeks, we were hopeful that we might just win the battle for this little elephant’s life, for some of the superficial wounds were healing well, but there were others that were very deep. She then began to lose the use of one hind leg indicating nerve damage, and on the morning of the l0th February she suddenly again collapsed and resigned herself to giving up the struggle for a life that should have spanned three score years and ten, but had been savagely cut short and was no longer worth living. Her Keepers erected a shelter over her to shield her from the sun, pending the arrival of the Vet whose prognosis was exceedingly gloomy. He was sure that peritonitis had set in, one spear having punctured her stomach wall and that there was no hope for recovery.
The ultimate decision to end an orphan’s suffering is always extremely painful and heart-rending, particularly when everyone has struggled so hard to save that life. But, to shorten her suffering was the last kindness we could extend to Ziwani. She was therefore euthenazed surrounded by an outpouring of tears and the sincere love and affection of all her Keepers tempered by a shared sense of deep shame that their countrymen, and especially those from the Masai tribe, could act in such a savage and brutal manner. However, there is comfort in knowing that somewhere in the Great Somewhere Ziwani is now reunited with her elephant mother, and at peace, her painful earthly journey having ended.