At a place called “Moju” (the Boran word for “Eland”) in the remote Kora National Reserve near the Somalia border in Northern Kenya, a young 4 – 5 month old orphaned female elephant calf was found by a Section of Kora Platoon Rangers who were patrolling the area, where there has been rampant poaching in of late. In fact the Moju patrol team gunned down 2 armed Somali poachers on the 8th January 2012, recovering one AK47 rifle and 25 rounds of ammunition. One member of the gang managed to escape.
The calf was thin and weak, and had injuries on the hindquarters and was minus a tail, probably as a result of attack by hyaenas bent on an easy meal. Judging by her condition, she had been without her mother for several days, and from the start was too calm for comfort given her age, obviously just relieved to be protected and have company, albeit human! The calf was driven to the Kinna airstrip in Meru National Park from whence she was airlifted to the Trust’s Nairobi Elephant Nursery, during the afternoon of the 25th January 2012.
Her wounds were cleaned and anointed with Green Clay, and she took milk and rehydrant fluids eagerly having been given the first of a 5 day course of the usual prophylactic Nuroclav antibiotic injection as a precaution against pneumonia resulting from a depressed immune system. She was named “Moju” and occupied the stable next door to Tano, who lavished compassion and care on her during her first days.
Tragically, we lost 5 month old “Moju” during the morning of 29th January 2012, having struggled to save her life ever since she was rescued. She came in severely emaciated and wounded, added to which she had been fed cows’ milk well meaningly prior to arrival. (Baby elephants are totally intolerant of the fat in cows’ milk, which invariably triggers diarrheoa). From the start this calf was far too calm for comfort, and not unexpectedly collapsed during the first night in the Nursery. Thereafter she was on and off life supporting drip, but eventually diarrheoa triggered by the cows’ milk finally exhausted the few reserves she had, Sulphadimidine administered orally by syringe unable to control it. Sadly little “Moju” was yet another victim of poaching that we were unable to save, the pain of her wounds, the terror and grief of losing her elephant mother and family, and the trauma of capture all proved far too much for her, so amidst the usual tears another tiny elephant was laid to rest in the forest behind the Trust Headquarters in Nairobi National Park. Rest in Peace little Moju.