We received a call late on the 4th of January from Brian Heath, the Chief Executive of the Mara Conservancy, about an abandoned baby elephant who had been observed for a couple of days on the plains of the Mara. Numerous elephants were in the area, moving through but this baby bull was seemingly an orphan because he never successfully integrated. In this time he had not fed on any milk, and was very much peripheral to the herds, sometimes kilometers apart. The calf was left another day to see if anything changed and if his mother would return. There was a young female, too young to be his mother, who was clearly agitated and concerned about the little baby’s fate and she was torn between remaining with the herds, and providing protection for the baby. It was thought that maybe she could be the sister of the little bull.
The DSWT rescue team was eventually called on the 5th of January and alerted that the calf was losing condition, getting weaker as he had not fed in all this time, and if he were to remain unattended by the wild elephant herds he would fall prey to the predators. It was now obvious he was an orphan. The DSWT team flew to the Kichwa Tembo airstrip and was met and collected by Mara Conservancy Scouts and together with Brian Heath driven to the place the young calf still wandered the plains. On route to his location they passed plenty of hyenas and a pride of lions which highlighted the fact that he had survived the night was extremely lucky.
As they drove up close to where he was they could see the young female who had been most concerned about him, but even she was quite a distance away by this time. As the team leapt from the car to capture the baby the second landrover was strategically positioned to protect the men just in case the young female decided to charge. The little baby put up little resistance and was restrained in minutes. He was clearly very weak by this time. He was lain down on the stretcher, strapped and placed in the back of the landrover and immediately driven to the airstrip to the waiting aircraft. There at the airstrip our Keepers attempted to hydrate him and he was then loaded into the plane and flown to Nairobi, a journey of just under one hour.
He arrived in the Nursery late evening, a terribly sweet little calf of approximately 15 months old who settled down quickly, relieved to have the company of the others and milk. He was hooked on his milk bottle almost immediately and with his pale amber eyes was instantly recognizable. It was only a couple of days before he was out with the others. We have called him Boromoko after the area where he was rescued.
Boromoko loves to linger with the visiting foster parents in the evening when coming home to his stable and has to be tempted by his milk bottle in order to proceed to his stable. He loves people and gravitates to the Keepers and the visitors. This is his unique little idiosyncrasy which of course endears him to everyone. The fate of his lost mother has not been confirmed, but there has been poaching reported in the Mara ecosystem in recent months. Boromoko is clearly relieved to be rescued and shows his appreciation daily.