Yet another elephant orphan rescued in the month of August. A lone bull elephant calf, roughly 18 months of age, was observed for about 5 days by the staff at Enasoit Ranch in Laikipia, who were hopeful that his mother might appear to repossess him. The elephant was alone in a l000 acre area with no access to water. However when no elephant mother, or herd, appeared, and the still milk dependent calf was quite obviously becoming progressively weaker by the day, the Ranch Manager Peter Glover alerted the Trust that yet another elephant rescue was on the cards. The death toll of young milk dependent elephant calves has been signigicant in Kenya generally, during this extremely severe drought year. There has been an alarming escalation in elephant and rhino poaching, plus increased human/wildlife conflict where wildlife is forced to compete with pastoral tribes and their livestock over depleting watering sources and scarcity of pasture. 2009 will go down in history as possibly the driest year in the History of the country and will exact a devastating toll on the country’s irreplaceable wildlife resource.
The Enasoit Ranch Staff, with the help of the Nanyuki Kenya Wildlife Service personnel, local community members and personnel from the neighbouring Ol Jogi Ranch managed to over-power the lone bull elephant on the 11th August, 2009, though not without a struggle, for he was extremely wild and still had the strength to put up a spirited struggle. Once captured he was driven in the back of a landcruiser to the Ol Jogi airstrip, and having drank a bucket of water, and taken a bottle of milk, he was loaded into the Rescue Plane and flown to the Nairobi Nursery that afternoon.
In the Trust’s usual Taming Stockade, he gave his two attendant Keepers a very hard time over the next few days, although he accepted milk, initially from a bucket, and then from a bottle. Although obviously still distrustful of all humans, he was allowed out with the other orphans after some five days, the feeling being that he was more likely to calm when amongst the other orphans. However, things did not go as planned, for once free he bolted into the Park, where he attempted to join a herd of buffalo for company, but was rejected, so continued on his way. The Keepers lost track of his spoor, and immediately alterted Daphne, Angela and the family, who were in Tsavo at the time. Most fortunately, despite being a weekend, it so happened that Mike Nicholson was available to fly the Trust’s new Top Cub aeroplane which fortunately happened to be in Nairobi. The plane immediately took to the air to search for the truant orphan. The elephant calf was spotted near the Langata Entrance Gate, several kms from the Trust’s base, and once its whereabouts was known, the Keepers scrambled a second Rescue and successfully re-captured the calf just before nightfall.
The calf, named Enasoit, was duly returned to the Taming Stockade, where he was incarcerated for the next 10 days, awaiting the return of Daphne and the family on the 26th when he was again allowed out to join the other orphans. This time, he was so joyful to be free that he immediately calmed down, and surprised everyone by even being friendly to the Mudbath Visitors, taking his cue from the other elephants. Thus little Enasoit became Number 24 in the Nairobi Nursery, since Tassia and Taveta had been moved to join Lesanju, Lempaute, Shimba, Siria, Sinya, Wassessa and Mzima at the Voi Rehabilitation Centre in Tsavo East National Park to free up Nursery space. During this extremely challenging year new orphans have been pouring in, and will obviously continue to do so until the onset of the next rains, expected in late October.